Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated by Paris Saint-Germain’s spoiling tactics as a 2-1 Group C loss at the Parc des Princes left Liverpool on the brink of an early Champions League exit.
Goals in the first half from Juan Bernat and Neymar ensured Liverpool have to beat Napoli 1-0 or by two goals at Anfield on matchday six to stay in the tournament, having reached the final last season before losing to Real Madrid.
Liverpool were shown six yellow cards but Klopp felt a poor tackle on Joe Gomez by Marco Verratti warranted a harsher punishment than the Italy international’s booking.
Referee Szymon Marciniak had a challenging match, appearing to change his mind after gesturing for a corner when Sadio Mane was challenged by Angel Di Maria before then pointing to the penalty spot.
And Klopp felt PSG cleverly broke up the flow of the game by staying down after tackles to reduce Liverpool’s chances of scoring a crucial equaliser.
“When the game starts like that it’s hard to gain confidence,” Klopp told BT Sport. “We never got 100 per cent our game but it was enough to get a result here tonight.
“A little hurdle was the 500,000 interruptions in the second half and the referee still thinks he did everything right. Two or three times in a row we are the fairest team in England, in the [Fair Play] table. Tonight, we look like butchers.
“They were constantly down and everything, it looks like we use elbows and it made the boys in a negative way aggressive, which doesn’t help. It was smart in a way and the referee let that happen.”
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 28, 2018
Klopp, however, was wary of making headlines from his post-match comments after Liverpool lost all three of their away group games in the Champions League for the first time.
“The problem I have a little bit is that I have to create a story,” he added. “Everything is ‘Klopp said, Klopp said’.
“I saw the penalty. It was inside [the box] but that doesn’t mean it was a foul. I have no clue why that happened.
“I saw the Verratti foul and, wow. It’s difficult, we lost the game, we were not outstandingly good. It’s a tight game in a very important competition. How many yellow cards did we get? Five, six, seven or so? It’s just crazy. How can you give the holding of somebody the same card as Verratti’s foul?
“These things, it’s hard but it’s our job to take it. I’m still a bit emotional about it but it will not stay like this and we will make the proper analysis and prepare for the derby [on Sunday against Everton] and a few more games, and then the 11th of December we have a proper final at Anfield.”
3 – Liverpool have lost all three Champions League group stage away games for the first time in the competition. Struggle. pic.twitter.com/HmlOxYsOWl
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 28, 2018
Klopp expanded on his criticism of PSG’s antics in a further post-match television interview.
“You saw it, we lost and they scored two, we got one that’s the situation,” Klopp said to beIN SPORTS.
“But so many interruptions in game like this, everyone knows what they want to do, especially what Neymar wants to do, then you get 50 free-kicks.
“We are a normal football team but they go down in each situation, it’s unbelievable. That was really hard and didn’t help us obviously.”
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