Later News Oct 23

Klopp reignites penalty row with Solskjaer ahead of Manchester United vs Liverpool clash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reignited a long-standing argument with his Manchester United counterpart, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, over the number of penalties the Red Devils have been awarded in recent seasons.


It has been nearly a year since Klopp expressed his surprise that United – even in the absence of former star Howard Webb – were being awarded an unusually high number of penalties in the English Premier League (EPL).


WATCH: A look at the Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry


Klopp’s comments were not simply the ramblings of a bitter old man – last season, Solskjaer’s men were awarded 11 penalties, with only Leicester City (12) having earned more spot-kicks than them.


Earlier this season, however, Solskjaer hit back at Klopp’s comments, and suggested that it had unfairly influenced referees to avoid awarding United any penalties, as evidenced by the mere four goals that Bruno Fernandes has scored so far.


Ironically, Solskjaer got his wish for a penalty granted almost immediately, but Fernandes contrived to waste it by skying his spot-kick all the way to William Shatner in space.


There is now a new chapter in the war of words between Klopp and Solskjaer, with the former insisting that United’s penalty record was “exceptional”.


WATCH: Solskjaer backs Cristiano Ronaldo to come out top over Mo Salah


Said Klopp: “I have nothing really to say about it, but I think in between what Ole said and what I said, they had five penalties and we had two.


“Still, we all know that the refs cannot be influenced by things like that. But having the number of penalties United had is quite exceptional. They are really good, they go in the box, they have these kinds of situations. But we have them as well, and got not even a similar number of penalties. But it's facts, it's done. Nothing else to say about it.”


As you can imagine, Klopp’s comments did not go down well at all with United fans on social media.


The Reds will travel to Old Trafford tomorrow evening (SGT) to face a United side buoyant from their 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta in the Champions League.


While games between the two bitter rivals are always too close to call, Solskjaer’s former teammate, Paul Scholes, believes it will be Liverpool who will emerge victorious, with the ‘Ginger Prince’ suggesting that Klopp would be “rubbing his hands” (and thankfully, just his hands) at the prospect of having his frontline face Harry Maguire and Co.


WATCH: Klopp talks about Ronaldo and Salah comparison


Klopp, however, dismissed such a notion, and asserted that Liverpool would have to be at the top of their game to beat United.


“Not one second was I rubbing my hands. There was no reason for it,” said Klopp. “Atalanta caused United some first-half problems, but United had three clear chances in the first-half and second-half was a pure power presentation of the quality United have.


“They can cause problems, so no, I wasn't rubbing my hands. I prepare my team for a tough game against a really tough opponent.


“We all know how football is. United is a massive game, we know they are able to do incredible stuff, but we try to focus mainly on ourselves.”




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