OPINION: Jurgen Klopp's lack of professionalism may stain his legacy

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OPINION: Jurgen Klopp's lack of professionalism may stain his legacy

Klopp is facing his second touchline ban of the season after his latest outburst
Klopp is facing his second touchline ban of the season after his latest outburstAFP
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (55) once again made some explosive comments about the standard of refereeing in matches involving his side in the aftermath of Sunday's 4-3 win over Tottenham.

The German coach unleashed his fury at the officials both during and after the pulsating match at Anfield, launching a sensational verbal attack on referee Paul Tierney after the official gave a free-kick for a foul by Mohammed Salah (30) prior to Spurs' equalising goal.

"How can they give a foul by Mohamed Salah?" Klopp told Sky Sports in his post-match interview.

"We have our history with Tierney, I really don't know what he has against us."

The history in question referred to Liverpool’s fixture with Tottenham last season when Harry Kane (29) was shown a yellow card rather than a red for a heavy challenge on Andy Robertson (29).

"He has said there are no problems but that cannot be true," added Klopp.

"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. 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. Nobody asked him about it because they don't have to clarify situations. So it's really tricky and it's difficult to understand. My celebration towards the fourth official, I didn't say any bad words."

After receiving a yellow card on the sideline for his outburst, Klopp later claimed that what was said to him by Tierney "was not okay".

Klopp went on to angrily celebrate in fourth official John Brook's face and pulling a hamstring amidst the overzealous scenes when Diogo Jota netted a late winner.

The manager is now facing his second touchline ban of the season as a result, with audio of the altercation - said to completely exonerate Tierney - set to be released after the conclusion of an FA investigation.

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."

It's not the first time Klopp has been called out for his behaviour during his time in England.

Earlier this season he famously got in the face and berated assistant referee Gary Beswick during Liverpool's 1-0 win over Manchester City in October, receiving a £30,000 and one-match ban as a result.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (C) reacts on the touchline and is subsequently sent off during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in October
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (C) reacts on the touchline and is subsequently sent off during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in OctoberAFP

He was also fined £45,000 for questioning the integrity of match official Kevin Friend after a 1-1 draw away to West Ham.

In 2018, the former Dortmund manager received an £8,000 fine for overly exuberant celebrations after racing into the centre circle to celebrate with goalkeeper Alisson (30) when Divock Origi (28) scored a winner in added time against Everton.

And the list goes on, even remarkably blaming broadcasters for purposely cutting a game short when his side were knocked out of the FA Cup by West Brom in 2018, sensationally suggesting that BT Sport had influenced the decision to not include 10 minutes of added time.

Klopp said at the time: "What I heard was that the actual extra-time in the first half should have been 10 minutes. It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it's not longer than four minutes.

"You can't cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don't know what was on afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say: 'It's now a little bit too long'."

English referee Paul Tierney gestures during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield
English referee Paul Tierney gestures during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at AnfieldAFP

The German is now becoming something of a prolific repeat offender for his outbursts and antics.

Such is the case, the CEO of charity Ref Support UK has called for more stringent punishments to be dished out to curb the coach's behaviour, claiming fines are simply not working.

"Unless the FA start addressing this behaviour with a points deduction it will never change," Martin Cassidy told the Daily Express.

"Giving Liverpool a £30,000 fine is nothing. Start giving them points deductions and watch them shut up and behave.

"We believe that will be one of the silver bullets right across football to address right up from grassroots to the Premier League. There have been touchline bans for decades, but it's not getting better, it's getting worse."

Known for his passion and high energy, it is not a case that entertainment value and emotion should be sacrificed or removed from the sport or taken away from the Liverpool boss.

Jurgen Klopp has also had his share of altercations with Champions League referees
Jurgen Klopp has also had his share of altercations with Champions League refereesAFP

But there comes a point where his lack of professionalism, respect for those around him and seemingly flat-out refusal to learn from mistakes could lead to a tarnished reputation.

Klopp will go down as one of the all-time great managers, both for Liverpool and in English football history.

On a good day and in a good mood, many of his interviews have and will go down in Premier League broadcasting folklore, often displaying wit and humour that is refreshing amongst regularly bland and repetitive press conferences and interviews.

But he must learn to curb his emotions when it comes to heat-of-the-moment calls against his side, with many of his memorable moments now displaying more of his negative traits that could well set a bad precedent for the game, the club and the next generation of managers at all levels.

Other great managers of the past were certainly no strangers to their controversial moments, but by comparison to Klopp they were far more limited.

Klopp was unhappy with the level of refereeing despite his side's victory against Tottenham
Klopp was unhappy with the level of refereeing despite his side's victory against TottenhamAFP

The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and even Pep Guardiola have all had their fair share of manic moments, but what separates them from Klopp is they seemingly had a far better handle on when and when not to fight those battles in public.

Klopp needs to learn this trait quickly.

It has been a difficult season for the Reds and no doubt Klopp is feeling like he could be under some pressure. He is also well within his rights to say what he wants and risk the wrath of the FA whenever he wants.

However, with the frequency he's currently doing it, and also the aggressive nature and explosiveness of it, he risks blemishing his legacy with memories of intimidation, bullying and, on occasions, outright delusion.

Sometimes mum's the word, and while it would definitely save him some cash in the long run - and keep him on the touchline where his players need him most - it would also go a long way to preventing him from permanently denting his reputation within the game.

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