Football

Juergen Klopp slams VAR call for opener, says Man United ‘just defend’

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp bemoaned Manchester United's defensive tactics and a controversial video assistant referee (VAR) call as the European champions' 17-game winning run in the English Premier League came to an end in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last Sunday.

Marcus Rashford's controversial goal handed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's struggling Red Devils a 1-0 half-time lead, but they could not hold out for a much-needed victory as substitute Adam Lallana levelled five minutes from time.

Liverpool still have a six-point advantage over Manchester City at the top of the table, but Klopp still felt his side missed an opportunity to inflict more pain on a United side sitting two points above the relegation zone.

"Pretty much everything went against us. Our own performance in the first half as well," said Klopp, who was left baffled by the VAR decision not to rule out Rashford's goal for a foul on Divock Origi by Victor Lindelof in the build-up.

"I was 100 per cent sure VAR will overrule it.

"The ref let the game run because he has VAR, but then VAR says then 'it is not clear', so we could say it is not a foul.

"It's a clear VAR issue in how we deal with it in the moment."

Solskjaer, meanwhile, disagreed with Klopp's assessment, saying: "It's not basketball, he touched him but it's not a clear and obvious error. I don't think it's a foul."

The United boss switched from his favoured 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2 as the Red Devils restricted the league leaders to precious few chances.

United had 32.1 per cent of possession yesterday, their second-lowest figure in an EPL game at Old Trafford since 2003/04. The lowest figure also came against Liverpool last March.

Said Klopp: "When we come here this year, last year and the year before, they just defend. It's not criticism, it's just a fact.

"The quality they have, (when they) set up like that, it's really difficult. It's no excuse, we needed to do better.

"We are a good team and it's normal people think about how they stop us."

One of the United managers Klopp faced last season, Jose Mourinho, responded to the German's comments by taking a dig at him.

Said Mourinho: "He didn't like the menu. He likes meat and he got fish. So he was not happy.

"They are of course much stronger against opponents who give them a chance of transitions and counter-attacks.

"United didn't do that. And he didn't like the menu.

"They were organised, they had a plan. You can agree or disagree, but they had a game plan, they stuck to it." - REUTERS, AFP

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