Jurgen Klopp felt referee Neil Swarbrick did Christian Benteke few favours after the striker failed to find the net in Liverpool’s 3-0 FA Cup replay triumph over Exeter City.
Joe Allen gave the home side an early lead at Anfield on Wednesday, before Sheyi Ojo and Joao Carlos Teixeira scored their first Liverpool goals in the second half to seal an easy win for the Premier League club over their League Two visitors.
Benteke, however, was unable to get his name on the scoresheet. The misfiring Belgian missed two close-range headers before the break, but did set up Teixeira for Liverpool’s third on the night.
Klopp told BT Sport: “I saw him after the game and he was in good shape.
“It’s not the most thankful game for a striker, all the defensive players jump on him.
“The ref didn’t help. There were a lot of situations, especially in the beginning of the game, when he said there was a foul. I couldn’t see this – they were normal challenges.
“He [Benteke] worked over the 92 minutes, and that was important to me.
“It would have been good for him, and us, if he could have scored tonight. He didn’t, but he worked for the space around the box and in the box.
“A striker, if he doesn’t score, isn’t satisfied. That’s normal, but he was okay.”
Benteke had not started for Liverpool since the 2-2 draw at Exeter in the original third-round tie on January 8. He captained a young side at St James Park, but Jose Enrique was given the armband for Wednesday’s replay.