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Klopp's personal attack on ref as 10-man Liverpool held by Spurs allowing Man City to march clear

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19th December, 2021
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Tottenham striker Harry Kane could have broken Andy Robertson’s leg with a first-half tackle that should have resulted in a red card in a feisty 2-2 draw in the Premier League.

Shortly after giving Tottenham the lead with his first league goal for two months, Kane launched into a lunging tackle on Robertson that had Klopp fuming on the touchline.

England skipper Kane was only shown a yellow card – one of eight dished out by referee Paul Tierney in an enthralling duel – and Klopp’s mood was hardly improved when the official failed to award his side a penalty for a shove on Diogo Jota.

Klopp was also yellow-carded for his rant at the fourth official, sarcastically bowing as he went into the book, and then confronted Tierney at the end of the game.

“I have no problems with any referees — only you,” Klopp bellowed to Tierney.

The German did not have any complaints about Robertson’s 77th minute red card for an ugly tackle on Spurs defender Emerson Royal, following a VAR check, but was mystified by Kane not getting one earlier.

“The result was fine but would have been different with the right decisions,” Klopp told reporters.

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“Robertson’s red card proved the VAR was working because I thought maybe they were not in their office.

“Luckily Robertson’s leg was in the air, it was pure coincidence. Harry cannot judge it. If Robbo’s leg is on the ground, it is a broken leg.”

On the penalty claim, Klopp said: “It is incredible. (The referee) had the best spot on the pitch and doesn’t give it. You will have to ask him what his problem is with me.”

Liverpool were without Thiago Alcantara, who was isolating after a COVID-19 test, while Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones were also still unavailable for COVID-related reasons while Jordan Henderson was missing with a cold.

It left Liverpool vulnerable to Tottenham’s counter-attacking style, although goals by Jota and Robertson looked to have clinched a ninth successive win in all competitions.

A mistake by keeper Alisson gifted Son Heung-min a deserved equaliser for Tottenham, leaving Liverpool three points behind Manchester City in the title race.

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“You have to fight and that’s what the boys did. The first half was a good game from my team,” said Klopp.

On his own yellow card, he added: “I was a bit more emotional in the game. He comes over and gives me a yellow card but I’d have preferred the right decisions on the pitch.”

Manchester City thumped Newcastle United 4-0 to secure a record-setting 34th league victory of the calendar year and a three-point advantage.

Third-placed Chelsea were held to a goalless draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

An eighth-straight league win for City was more than routine after first-half goals from defenders Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo.

Riyad Mahrez’s 50th league goal since joining City in 2018 came in the 63rd before Raheem Sterling tapped in a fourth in the 86th.

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It was City’s 34th league victory in 2021, surpassing the previous calendar year record in England set by Liverpool in 1982.

Asked what that said about his team, manager Pep Guardiola replied: “Our consistency.

“I prefer to win titles, but when you break a record from a long, long time ago, in a calendar year, the most victories, you are consistent.

“You win games and win games and win games, and this is the most precious value this team has.”

The defeat left Newcastle next-from-last approaching the mid-way point of the season.

Meanwhile, Blues manager Thomas Tuchel was critical of the league for not postponing their trip to Wolves on a weekend when six of the 10 games were called off due to coronavirus cases.

Chelsea were missing seven players with COVID-19 and Jorginho at Molineux was not risked after inconclusive test results.

“We were put in a huge risk of health and safety to the players, not just because of COVID but also physically,” Tuchel said.

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