Jurgen Klopp expressed regret for the behaviour that could lead to an FA charge as he gave a detailed explanation over comments about Paul Tierney.
Liverpool’s manager received criticism for the way he acted after Diogo Jota’s dramatic winning goal against Tottenham, the German rushing towards fourth official John Brooks as he stewed on a decision moments earlier that had been given against Mohamed Salah.
Klopp, remarkably, pulled his hamstring so badly in the commotion that he admitted he would be facing six weeks out if he was a player. There was a rueful smile as he gave that medical bulletin but there was a more sober nature about him when he opened up on what happened.
In his post-match press conference, Klopp said Liverpool had ‘history’ with Tierney. He had been booked by the referee for his over-the-top celebrations and, had Tierney not listened to Brooks, Klopp would have been sent from the touchline for the second time this season.
‘The whole situation shouldn’t have happened at all. It was out of emotion, anger and that is never a good leader for the things you do. I was still angry, which led to the way I celebrated.
Jurgen Klopp has urged that he ‘didn’t lie’ about Liverpool’s history with referee Paul Tierney
According to the Reds boss, Tierney told Klopp how he initially planned to send him off rather than issue a yellow card after Liverpool scored their last-gasp winner against Spurs on Sunday
‘I was shouting “Without you, without you”, which didn’t really make much sense. Paul Tierney came over to me and I didn’t expect for a second a red card. He said “For me, it’s a red card”. “Red card for what?” I tried to calm down, didn’t work out properly and then went into the interviews.
‘Maybe I should have said he told me it was a red card and I didn’t think it was. The rest of the things I said about how I feel about Paul Tierney whistling his games, I’m sure he is not doing intentionally but there is history. These things that happened in the past, in decisive games, happened. That’s a feeling, nothing else.’
Klopp, who has yet to hear from the FA but is braced for a call asking him to explain his comments, continued: ‘He (Tierney) showed me a yellow and smiled to my face. That’s it. The final whistle we go inside and I try to calm down and it didn’t work out properly and I said what I said.
‘The things which were made of what Paul Tierney said to me (that he said Tierney’s words were unacceptable) I didn’t say. I said “What he said to me was not OK” and I thought it was not OK because it was not a red card in my view. I understand I opened the box.
‘It was not intentional but I opened it. Your colleague (from Sky Sports) stepped into it and wanted me to carry on and said words like ‘inappropriate’ or whatever and I didn’t respond to that.
The Reds boss celebrated Diogo Jota’s late winner in the face of fourth official John Brooks
Klopp has been accused of lying – with PGMOL refuting his post-match claims about Tierney
‘Maybe in that moment I should have said: “He said to me he thought it was a red card and I didn’t think it was a red card” and stopped talking there. That is one of the things that happened. The rest was, the things I said were how I felt in that moment about Paul Tierney refereeing our games.
‘I am very sure he is not doing it intentionally but we have a history and I cannot deny that. I am not a resentful person – not at all, I think it is a waste of time, I have to get over so many things in my life – but these kind of things which happened in the past, in decisive games for us or not, happened.’
Klopp, whose grievance goes back to a fixture between Liverpool and Tottenham in December 2021 in which Harry Kane avoided a red card and Jota didn’t get a clear penalty, added: ‘Of course they (decisions) didn’t’ happen intentionally but they are still there and it’s a feeling – nothing else.
‘I know the refs were really angry about what I said and go now for it. I heard I was lying. I did a lot of things that day but I didn’t lie. I shouldn’t have said a couple of things but lying was not one of them.’
The last-minute 4-3 win was crucial in Liverpool’s bid to secure Champions League football next season, as the Reds stayed in touch with Newcastle and Manchester United despite being seven points behind fourth place in the table.
Liverpool threw away a three-goal lead before Jota capitalised on a late Tottenham mistake
Klopp insisted Tierney was the only referee he had ‘problems’ with in his post-match interview
Klopp’s men are now on course to secure Europa League football at least next term, having leapfrogged Spurs into fifth place after Sunday’s late triumph.
During his post-match interview, the Reds boss admitted Tierney was the only referee he had ‘problems’ with, still angered by Harry Kane avoiding a red card for his challenge on Andrew Robertson – only for the Scot to be later sent off himself.
Klopp said after Sunday’s clash: ‘We’ve had our story, history with Mr Tierney.
‘I really don’t know what this man has with us. He will always say there’s nothing but it’s not true. It cannot be, I don’t understand that. It cannot be. I’m really not sure if it’s me, how he looks at me. I don’t understand it.
‘I really have no problem with any people, not with him as well. But I say again. He was reffing at Tottenham when Harry Kane didn’t get a red card. And Harry Kane, I love this player, what a player, crazy, I don’t want him to get a red card – but it was a red card in that game.
‘And it was Mr Tierney and nobody asked him about it because they don’t have to clarify situations. So it’s really tricky and it’s difficult to understand and my celebration towards the fourth official I didn’t say any bad words.
The referee has been appointed to VAR and fourth official duties for this weekend’s matches
PGMOL defended Tierney after Klopp had accused the official of making ‘improper remarks’
After reviewing Tierney’s audio from the match, PGMOL insisted the referee acted in a ‘professional manner throughout’, accusing Klopp of lying about the official’s conduct.
The referees’ governing body released a statement on Sunday saying: ‘PGMOL is aware of the comments made by Jurgen Klopp after his side’s fixture with Tottenham Hotspur.
‘Match officials in the Premier League are recorded in all games via a communications system and having fully reviewed the audio of referee Paul Tierney from today’s fixture, we can confirm he acted in a professional manner throughout, including when issuing the caution to the Liverpool manager so, therefore, we strongly refute any suggestion that Tierney’s actions were improper.’
Tierney has been assigned to fourth official and VAR duties in the Premier League this weekend.