The Reds will have to rely once again on the magical atmosphere at Anfield to beat Napoli and enter the knockout stages.
After a fair but disappointing result away at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accused the match referee Szymon Marciniak of entertaining the opponent players’ antics on the pitch. Neymar, in particular, was the target of Klopp as he was certainly not impressed with the Brazilian constantly trying to play a victim of fouls by the Reds.
Watch: PSG 2-1 Liverpool
Juan Bernat opened the scoring for PSG as they looked absolutely dominating during majority of the first half while Neymar added the second after a beautifully worked move. However, Angel Di Maria went on to trip Sadio Mane inside the box late in the first half and James Milner scored from the spot to give the Reds some hope for the second half.
But the Parisians were relentless while attacking in the second half too and Liverpool just couldn’t find a breakthrough to score an equalizer as they had to settle for their third consecutive away defeat in the Champions League. Although Klopp admitted after the game that the hosts were pretty dominant in the game and appreciated their goals, he clearly wasn’t happy with some of the referee’s decisions.
“I know that now the main headline will be ‘Klopp said’ but the number of interruptions in that game was just not cool.”
“Two times in a row we won the fair play award in England and tonight we look like butchers after the yellow cards we had. It was clever of PSG, especially Neymar, but a lot of other players went down like it was really something serious and we were not that calm any more,” he added.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager went on to speak about how it is ‘unsportsmanlike’ to behave, the way PSG did. “We were aggressive, and unfortunately negative aggression doesn’t help in football, we got rather frustrated and angry. But we have to deal with it, that’s our job. If the ref lets that happen then we have to deal with it.”
“There are a lot of things you can do. You can give yellow cards for everything. If you go down, if you act like you die and then the next moment you get up, yellow card. It’s unsportsmanlike behaviour. In the end, it’s hectic and everyone is going down. I don’t want to say Paris didn’t deserve and I don’t expect help from a ref, I just expect him to calm all these things down. It doesn’t happen that often, to be honest, but it happened tonight.”
Moreover, the 51-year-old also talked about how Marco Verratti deserved a red card for an ugly foul on Joe Gomez. “I had a very good view of it and it was for sure not the same colour as these 500 other yellow cards.”
On the other hand, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel branded Klopp’s comments as a ‘diversion tactic’ from what was a potentially costly defeat for Liverpool. “I don’t feel it is such a big issue,” he said. “We suffered a lot of fouls. You don’t have to commit a lot of fouls, especially if you are 1-0 down. If you are 1-0 down then don’t commit 10 fouls in the next 10 minutes. I didn’t experience it this way around.”
“When I lose a big game I am angry and I will talk about other stuff to bring attention away from my team also. I hear Jürgen has his opinion and that’s fine. I’m talking about the game,” added the former Mainz 05 manager.
The loss looks pretty costly for the Reds as they will now have to defeat Napoli with a minimum margin of two goals if they are to qualify for the knockout stages. The game being played at Anfield on 11th December will be a delight for the eyes of the spectators. Klopp too spoke about the game saying, “We need Anfield again and we need to create an atmosphere which is pretty special.”