Belfast Telegraph

Rival bosses square up in sideline spat

By Ian Herbert

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed after a typically incendiary end to his side's 1-1 draw with Manchester United match at Old Trafford that he squared up to Jose Mourinho in the technical area because the Portuguese was trying to get his player disciplined.

Klopp was furious when the United manager tried to influence referee Michael Oliver after Roberto Firmino had retaliated, when Ander Herrera dragged him back from a counter-attack by the back of his shirt.

"He wanted the minimum of a yellow card, I don't know," Klopp said of Mourinho. "I think the ref whistled before anything else happened. Roberto is a footballer from head to toe and he wanted to stay in the game. That was a yellow card for Herrera and nothing else.

It could have been even worse if someone wants to see it again and all that stuff. We (Klopp and Mourinho) could not have the same opinion in this moment."

The blatant foul from Herrera, at a time when the lead Liverpool held until for 57 minutes had been cancelled out, led Firmino to shove Herrera in the chest.

Mourinho, whose side had the better chances, claimed that Klopp had accused him of trying to get Firmino sent off. "He thought I was asking for his player to be sent off," the United manager said. "I wasn't. There was no problem at all. I think the game was correct. I think the players gave everything but in an emotional and professional way so the referee did very well in that part of the game - emotional and in control of good professionals."

Klopp was grinning when he discussed Mourinho's programme notes but there was clearly needle.

Mourinho angered Klopp as United toiled against Liverpool

"I read the programme notes and it is the first time that there was nothing about 'Welcome to Liverpool' or something like this," he said. "That's the first thing. Then I wanted a coffee and in the can was only tea. It's started already, yeah? It's OK. It's football and we are ready for it.

Mourinho did not contest the penalty for handball which was awarded against Paul Pogba in the first half, though he did insinuate that penalties never go for his team, stating that united had been awarded only "one in 25 games."

Klopp suggested that it was United getting all the breaks. "A lot of people before the game would have thought we would get a knock [in this game] because United look like a rolling beetle and everything goes in their direction," he said. "We know about our problems and situations so seeing a performance like today was nice.

"I hoped we would have a bit of luck, unfortunately not but all good. Tomorrow I can enjoy the result, but tonight only the performance. We were here to win the game which is why we are not 100% satisfied."

Meanwhile, Klopp has called on FIFA to make a swift decision about the eligibility of defender Joel Matip after he was forced to leave the player out of his squad for the United meeting.

The Cameroon centre-back retired from international football in September 2015 but national team coach Hugo Broos subsequently tried to call him up for the African Nations Cup.

Matip made his position clear to Broos and in the lead up to the tournament Liverpool were relaxed about the situation. However, although Cameroon finalised their squad for the competition over a week ago Liverpool were unable to gain clarity from FIFA about Matip's clearance and eligibility.

"Our understanding is Joel is retired from international football but until now we could not get the response we need to be 100 per cent sure that he can play," said Klopp.

"It's pretty frustrating, to be honest. He would have been in the squad, 100 per cent, maybe on the pitch today, so I don't think it's fair."

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