A string of poor and questionable refereeing decisions have gone against Liverpool of late. Jürgen Klopp has largely remained silent on the matter. And as much is advised by the FA who wield a threat of punishment by fine and a gratuitous amount of snidely written media headlines for any manager that publicly questions the wherewithal of a referee.
There are always moments of frustration with referees. They get calls wrong. They miss fouls all together. They give a card to the wrong guy. Some are just bizarre, in a weird people way. So, that's normal. But when poor decisions pile up to your detriment, it goes beyond the normal and your silent servitude to the mighty FA becomes a bit harder to swallow.
Jürgen Klopp’s eventual resistance to an unfair system that harshes his referee-criticizing mojo was triggered after Liverpool’s defeat to Southampton. A handball in the box wasn't spotted/called/given credence to by referee Martin Atkinson, no penalty was awarded and voila the straw breaks the camel’s back. Gross.
“The handball was clear. Long, a clear handball,” said Klopp. “Maybe it’s not interesting and I don’t look for excuses or anything but it’s really hard to accept it week by week by week by week. Really hard.”
“In one of the biggest games that everybody told me against Manchester United, he (Valencia) was two or three yards offside but nobody really speaks about it
“You just have to say after the game, I think, okay ‘do I have to speak about it, is it my job to get to a fine about it by talking about it?’”
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Klopp will be in for a tut tut from the FA for his comments. There seems to be no clear guidelines to police this sort of menace who gives a question an honest answer. Sometimes the FA ask a manager to explain himself and his comments and then give a Don’t You Do That Again Or Else speech. Sometimes they require money to make them go away. But, Klopp appears to be done hiding his displeasure over fear of any repercussions.
“The show must go on,” said Klopp, “and now it’s the next game again but there’s been a lot of offside goals against us which shouldn’t have been allowed. That’s how it is. It doesn’t feel good.
“But two situations of course would have been enough. Two penalties, Milner (scores them), 2-0 and we don’t talk about anything else. It’s the same performance.”
It’s not always a great look to go on a tear over missed calls, especially ones that could have had an impact on the game you just lost. But highlighting a stretch of gaffs by referees as a punctuation to a broader conversation about referees meeting the speed of the modern game, exploring play-review technology and so forth, ain’t all that bad, either.
I’m not implying that Jürgen Klopp had a motive in his interview to feed that conversation but, without managers willing to step up from time to time and emphasize a sequence of refereeing errors, that conversation struggles to hold interest. So, look at the positives or whatever.