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Highlights on Off The Ball
Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

09:07 8 Jan 2021


There has been plenty of talk about Jurgen Klopp's Manchester United penalty comments of late, but Caoimhe O'Neill of The Athletic says perhaps sometimes too much is made of the German's post-match thoughts.

The Liverpool boss criticised the officials' performance after his side went down 1-0 at Southampton earlier in the week.

"We cannot change. I hear now that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years. I've no idea if that's my fault, or how that can happen.

"But it's no excuse for the performance. We cannot change it, we have to respect the decisions. But we can change our performance. That's our focus now."

However, speaking on OTB AM with Adrian and Eoin this morning, sportswriter O'Neill said it's only a story because it's Klopp.

"Anything Klopp says is always going to make a headline. Obviously after a defeat it was only going to further that. I think he just said what was frustrating fans at the minute... they are aware of social media and it's just a feeling at the minute that United do win a hell of a lot of penalties.

"It's probably got to Klopp and his team that sometimes it just feels like... there was a moment against Newcastle where the goalkeeper grabs Mané's leg, and on Monday Mané was brought down and there was actual contact there.

"It's just one of them at the minute - Liverpool aren't scoring goals from open play and you kind of feel a penalty would be helpful at this moment in time.

"Klopp's comments are just Klopp. He's blamed stuff on the weather before and people have just taken it and ran with it. He says a sort of throwaway line and it becomes this big thing.

"I don't think he's necessarily just sitting at home thinking about United and penalties all the time - I just think it was a sort of throwaway line and hinting at what everyone's feeling at the minute - the club and the fans.

"If Liverpool could win some more penalties that would be great, wouldn't it? But I think the main concern for Liverpool will be not United's penalty record but their own scoring record and how much they need to improve on that attack."

O'Neill added that it's simply Klopp's honesty in the interviews after a game that can lead to certain comments being picked up.

"There have been moments after tough, tough games where it's just sort of a leting off of pressure almost. He's got one of the biggest jobs in football and I think sometimes he will speak his mind straight away.

"That's not necessairly a bad thing but I think sometimes he probably forgets how it will be interpreted.

"I don't think you can get at him in terms of his mentality. Liverpool are going through a bit of a weak spot at the minute and that might be coming across even in post-match interviews from the captain and Klopp himself.

"But I don't think that's something that's a weakness almost, him saying it is probably important because then maybe does it become this sort of thing now? People will think more of it.

"I thought Andre Marriner had a really poor performance, the referee for the Southampton game. Sometimes you've gotta just say things how they are in the hope they will change."

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Alex Ferguson Anfield Caoimhe O'Neill Jurgen Klopp Klopp Lfc Liverpool Otb Am Premier League

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