Two controversial refereeing decision went against Liverpool in Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Arsenal, and It later emerged Bukayo Saka may have been offside in the build-up to Gabriel Martinelli's opener; Klopp: "The right ref decisions would have been helpful, to be 100 per cent honest"
Wednesday 12 October 2022 14:44, UK
Jurgen Klopp has criticised referee Michael Oliver's decision-making during Liverpool's 3-2 defeat to Arsenal and also hit back at former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann for claiming his side "lack spark".
The Reds controversially conceded a penalty when Thiago Alcantara made light contact with Gabriel Jesus in the 18-yard box, which led to the Gunners' third goal, and they were denied one of their own when Diogo Jota's cross struck defender Gabriel on the arm.
It later emerged that the Gabriel Martinelli's opener after just 58 seconds at the Emirates might have been ruled out had Bukayo Saka not been in a camera blind spot when he received the ball from Ben White in the build-up, meaning the VAR could not draw the lines to determine whether he was offside.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of Liverpool's Champions League clash with Rangers on Wednesday, Klopp said: "On Sky Sports' Ref Watch, when Mr Dermot [Gallagher] twice says the decision was wrong by the best English referee Michael Oliver... the TV ref usually always says exactly what the ref decided was right.
"Before the season, we had a big meeting with the refs and they said no soft penalties anymore. Then we've seen already this season which kind of situations we have for handball and there were penalties with exactly the same situations, but not in this game.
"We conceded silly goals, especially the second one in the first half, but between the first and second goal, we played against a team in form in the league a really good game.
"Then I get the information only later after that because nobody could show that before, Saka was probably offside around the first goal and all of a sudden a bad defending situation becomes a good defending situation because he would have been offside, just the assistant didn't see it or thought VAR would check it and VAR had no camera.
"We are responsible for the situation around the penalty situation. We should have cleared it before, but it was still no penalty. We are responsible for going through a set-piece and conceding a counter-attack, of course, and we cannot be responsible for the first goal because it was good defending and it was offside.
"It's really tricky and yes we can play better, but we didn't go to Arsenal to show how good we are, we went to Arsenal to win the game.
"We lost it in the way we lost it so now it's difficult to judge, so what did we miss in this specific game? Just the right ref decisions would have been helpful, to be 100 per cent honest, then we could judge the game. Then, if we win that game, to the outside world, our problems are completely sorted. We know it's not like that. Now we lost the game and three players and that's the exact opposite what should have happened."
The German was in no mood to tolerate Hamann's claim, either, when it was raised again in the press conference.
"He is a fantastic source, well respected everywhere," Klopp said, sarcastically.
"It [having played for Liverpool] doesn't give you the right to say whatever you want, especially when you have no idea. I actually think Hamann doesn't deserve you to use his phrase to ask me a question. Do me a favour and ask your own question.
"We have to keep fighting. It will not happen overnight."
Addressing the club's injury concerns, which intensified on Sunday with a knee injury likely to keep Luis Diaz out until after the World Cup and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip both ruled out for a fortnight, Klopp made it clear he does not intend to rush players back.
Andy Robertson, who has not played for the Reds in over a month, will be included in the squad for tomorrow's trip to Rangers in the Champions League.
"I think we were a little bit lucky with Trent because his ankle didn't look good, to be honest, he said.
"Lucho [Luis Diaz] looks like a quick healer, but we have to be careful with that. That could have been worse as well, with the way he moved after the game.
"And with Joel, he just felt a little bit. That's what you do these days, have a scan, and we find out he is out as well. That's not great, but it's the situation and we have to deal with is and we will.
"They [returning players] have only trained for a couple of days and we cannot put them in just because the others are out. Robbo is in the squad for tomorrow, Curtis (Jones) is not, Ox (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) is not. It's important that the boys are coming back but it's not 'come back, train twice with the team and here we go'. It's not like that."
Klopp added that facing a Rangers side determined to avenge last Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Anfield would pose a different threat, but that his side would be well prepared to combat that.
"The only thing we can do is to keep fighting and that's what everybody wants to see. We fought against Arsenal really hard and that's what we'll do tomorrow night. We have to do that, not only because Giovanni van Bronckhorst said in his press conference and interviews that they want to put things right and get three points in the Champions League group.
"They tried it with a defensive approach, five at the back, and now they want to attack and go for it in a great atmosphere. I've never played here, I'm really excited to experience that.
"In the Champions League, there is always this middle tie where you play home and away against the same opponent. We had a situation quite frequently where we won the home game and then we go to the away game and it is different.
"I feel sorry for people who expected, after last season, us to go again and fly again and compete for everything. Now it's not the case. I cannot promise we will fly tomorrow, but I can promise we will fight. Until somebody tells us the fight is over.
"It hasn't become easier since Sunday, because of the injuries, but the team I saw today in training I liked a lot."
On the latest episode of Essential Football we take a closer look at the problems at Liverpool, after their defeat at Arsenal left them already 14 points off top spot in the Premier League.
Sky Sports News' senior reporter Melissa Reddy and Sky Sports' senior football journalist Richard Morgan join Peter Smith to assess the wider issues at the club - and the form and fitness worries compounding those problems.
From mis-steps in the transfer window to the team's tactical evolution under Jurgen Klopp the panel discuss how a team which was going for an unprecedented quadruple earlier this year is now languishing in mid-table a long way off the early pace setters in the Premier League.