Jurgen Klopp has insisted that referee Martin Atkinson should have awarded Liverpool a penalty in the Premier League leaders’ 1-1 draw with Leicester City.
Harry Maguire headed in an equaliser on the stroke of half-time at Anfield, cancelling out Sadio Mane’s early opener, with Leicester holding firm to deny Liverpool a win which would have taken them seven points clear of Manchester City.
Liverpool had appeals for a spot-kick turned down when Naby Keita went down under pressure from Ricardo Pereira, while Maguire was perhaps fortunate not to receive a red card for a last-man foul on Mane in the first half.
And Klopp, who insisted in the build-up to Wednesday’s encounter that Mohamed Salah only came under additional scrutiny for going down easily in the area because he played for a club as big as Liverpool, did not hide his frustration.
“I don’t think you need VAR for that,” Klopp said when asked by BT Sport if the review system would have aided Liverpool’s cause.
“The referee was in the best position. So that’s it, but he doesn’t want to give it.
“Really very often I stand here in the last couple of weeks answering why we get penalties, well today was a very clear one that we didn’t get.
“Hopefully everybody is very happy that we didn’t get that penalty and now we can carry on.”
58′ Big #LFC shouts for a penalty but play on decides the ref! End-to-end football now. Come on you Reds!!
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 30, 2019
Klopp was also dismayed that Maguire remained on the pitch after hauling down Mane, who looked set to be through on goal, with the England international going on to restore parity six minutes later.
“I really don’t understand why you ask me, I’m not a referee,” Klopp said.
“I’m not sure. I would say it’s 100 per cent a chance, at least, and that’s something that means the referee needs to give a red card.
“Not only Sadio is through, but I’m pretty sure [Salah] is through on the other side as well. But Martin Atkinson thought it was not a red card, he thought it was a yellow card.”
Unsurprisingly, Leicester boss Claude Puel – whose side continue to impress against top-six opposition this season – disregarded Klopp’s claims.
“I didn’t see the replay but I think it was a circumstance. It was not a red card,” Puel told BBC Sport.
“I think we had the right decisions from the referee. There is no excuse for Liverpool.”
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