Speaking exclusively to Transfer Tavern, former Premier League referee Mark Halsey discussed Jurgen Klopp’s booking in Liverpool’s draw on Sunday.
In the fixture itself, Liverpool took an early lead in the first half through Sadio Mane’s brilliantly taken finish, however, Klopp’s side failed to make their dominance of the ball count – the Reds ended the game with 78% possession – as Semi Ajayi headed home a West Brom equaliser in the 82nd minute, with the game ending 1-1.
However, during the second half of the match, Klopp was left furious as a foul was awarded against Rhys Williams by referee Kevin Friend, with the German launching a verbal tirade directed towards the official, which led to Friend booking the 53-year-old.
And, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who was co-commentating on the game for Sky Sports, suggested that Klopp’s anger could have been because Friend gave the manager a ‘cheeky smile‘.
“I don’t think Kevin would have been trying to antagonise him or be arrogant towards him or mimic him,” Halsey told Transfer Tavern. “Perhaps he just smiled in a way just, you know, to calm him down.”
Do you think Friend intentionally antagonised Klopp?
He continued: “Anyway, I’ve been told by my former colleagues who are still active now that he’s come up to referees to shake hands and has said, ‘I’m doing this for the cameras, I don’t really like you people,’ so if you’re saying [that] to the officials, what would you expect?”
While Halsey claims that Klopp could well have deserved a wry smile from Freind due to his previous actions towards referees, if the official did indeed antagonise the manager with a grin, it is not exactly professional behaviour.
However, with Liverpool still sitting three points clear at the top of the Premier League table, Klopp would do well to put this incident behind him, and rather concentrate his energy on Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures in the league, which are coming thick and fast.
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