Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he isn’t playing mind games ahead of Sunday’s match against Manchester United after comparing the number of penalties awarded to both teams.
Speaking after Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton earlier this month, Klopp questioned why United have been awarded “more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half-years”.
Liverpool host United on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, and former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has accused Klopp of a “blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game”.
Klopp has hit back at Clattenburg’s comments and has laughed off suggestions he has attempted to gain a psychological edge ahead of the crucial match at Anfield.
“Am I surprised that somebody is talking about what I said after the Southampton game? No,” said Klopp.
“Am I surprised that Mark Clattenburg speaks about it? No. I’m not sure if he got asked a lot of things. It’s nice that long after his career we can talk about him as well.
“I’m not Sir Alex [Ferguson] for different reasons. He [Clattenburg] said that we tried something.. mind games? Directly after the Southampton game, I didn’t think a second about the United game at that moment.
“Before the game against Southampton I saw the stats about the penalties, that’s what I mentioned.
“When people like Mark Clattenburg, speaking like they speak, it always says much more about them then it could ever say about me.
“If he would be in my situation, he obviously would play mind games, but I am unfortunately not – I have no skills for playing mind games.”