Jurgen Klopp, the manager who has brightened the Premier League with his quick wit and off-beat remarks, displayed his dark side after Liverpool dropped two precious points at Sunderland.
The 2-2 draw against a team struggling in the relegation zone was undoubtedly a setback for Liverpool because teams with title aspirations win at places like the Stadium of Light, as leaders Chelsea did just a fortnight ago.
But goals from Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane proved insufficient as Liverpool twice squandered leads by conceding two penalties, converted with his customary coolness by Jermain Defoe.
Klopp did not like what he witnessed and did not hide his emotions.
“Sorry about my mood,” he said at the end of his assessment of Monday’s draw, which left Liverpool second, five points behind leaders Chelsea.
While criticism of referees is normally the first port of call for managers seeking excuses for disappointing results such as this, Klopp has rarely taken that easy route.
This time though he blamed Anthony Taylor for awarding the free-kick that was handled by Mane to give Sunderland their second penalty and he confronted the referee on the pitch afterwards.
“It is hard to accept. If you see it again, there was no contact,” the normally affable German said. “I saw it in the game and the fourth official saw it.
“It’s not the worst mistake in the world and I don’t want to say it is, but it’s hard.”
Such comments are unlike Klopp and suggest he may be feeling some of the pressure involved in chasing a team with Chelsea’s recent impeccable record.
A more valid excuse would have been the fixture list that left Liverpool facing three games in seven days while Chelsea’s three come in the space of 10 days.
However, Klopp said: “I am the wrong person to ask. I have absolutely no influence on the fixtures. It is like it is and somebody decided like this, so there is nothing to say about this.”
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