Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg says that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has no right to question the number of penalties Manchester United have earned.
Klopp pointed out earlier this month that United have had “more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years”.
The Red Devils have earned six league spot kicks this season compared to the five won by Liverpool.
However, they have received 42 in all competitions since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over in December 2018. That compares to Liverpool’s 19.
Klopp’s comments have sparked debate, especially since the two arch-rivals sit first and second in the table. Solskjaer offered a muted response while one pundit has called on the German to stop with the excuses for his side’s poor recent form.
However, ex-referee Clattenburg has now had his say on the debate. Writing in a column for the Daily Mail, the former official claimed that a Liverpool duo are just as bad at trying to win penalties.
“First, he sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United’s players are looking to win penalties. The likes of Mo Salah and Mane are just as capable of employing similar tactics,” Clattenburg wrote.
“He is clearly getting edgy, though, because not since Fergie have we seen such a blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game.
“Klopp wasn’t doing this last season when Liverpool were winning every week.
“He does not like losing, he never has. He gets prickly. But he is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions. There used to be when Fergie was there, but that has eased massively since he left.
“I am the only referee to give three penalties to the opposition at Old Trafford, and that was for Liverpool, of all teams, in 2014. But David Moyes was manager — I’m not sure that would have happened when Fergie was there!”
Man Utd penalty record analysed
Clattenburg went on to analyse the 11 penalties that United have won in all competitions this season.
He claimed that Red Devils players initiated contact – what he called a “clever” tactic – on three occasions.
Marcus Rashford was in the spotlight for the spot kick he earned against Newcastle in October. Clattenburg wrote: “Rashford anticipates contact from Jamal Lewis and is already going down when the Newcastle defender swings his leg.
“Rashford should have been booked for deceiving the referee.”
The former official also said that Paul Pogba should not have won a penalty against Aston Villa.
In any case, he added that Klopp’s comments are an attempt to influence Paul Tierney. The referee will take charge of Sunday’s mouthwatering clash between Liverpool and United.
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