It was evident from the early going that Burnley were committed to, let’s say, a “retro” version of English football. Sean Dyche’s men took full advantage of a wet pitch and a referee who seems to have left his cards in his other shorts to put in crunching challenge after crunching challenge.
With as many challenges being thrown around, it seemed only a matter of time before something bad happened, and unfortunately Joe Gomez was on the receiving end.
As the young defender was being stretched off after the harsh challenge, Klopp let his displeasure known to the fourth official, Mike Dean.
“I said to the referee after the first sliding tackle [made] over six or seven yards, when he got the ball and everyone liked it: ‘Please, tell them they cannot do that’”, said Klopp in the post match presser.
”It wasn’t a foul but they cannot do that. It’s like bowling because then four or five times it happened. Joe is injured and probably not only a little bit.
“Aggression is a part of football but be careful. Sliding over six or seven yards: these times are over. Usually someone will not let you do that.
”We all want to win and you can choose different ways but someone needs to say: ‘Stop doing that’. Make two more steps and then you are in a normal challenge.
“Don’t go five yards before you see the player when the grass is wet. It’s unlucky what happened to Joe but the referees have to make sure it doesn’t happen consistently. That’s not how it should be.”
Dyche, apparently, was unhappy with Klopp and what he saw as trying to unfairly influence the game. Unfairly like injuring opposing players? No, but still unfair! He exchanged some heated words after the final whistle with Klopp, but denied saying anything other than “good game.” Sure, Sean.
“It’s this idea of getting back to what we’re about,” Dyche said about the physical play. “There were some excellent challenges. That’s part of that front foot mentality. You’ve got to put a marker on the game.”
Excellent challenge. Good ol’ fashioned footy. Naturally. Let’s hope for a quick recovery for Joe, whose career has far too often been plagued by nasty injuries.