Due to a dispute with a referee who was vigorously supported on Monday by the Premier League's match officials group, Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp runs the prospect of receiving a touchline suspension for the team's next crucial matches.
On Sunday, Liverpool defeated Tottenham 4-3 after surrendering a 3-0 lead, and Klopp immediately raced up to the fourth official on the sideline to celebrate in front of him. Referee Paul Tierney then sent Klopp a yellow card when he seemed to hurt his hamstring in the process.
While acknowledging that his celebration merited a booking, Klopp accused Tierney of saying something “not OK” and implied that the referee had a vendetta against his team. Following Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Tierney last season, the German manager also criticised Tierney for failing to dismiss star striker Harry Kane from the contest.
With Mr. Tierney, we have a history. I have no idea what this guy is trying to do to us. Really, I have no idea. He consistently asserts that there is nothing, which is untrue. After the chaotic conclusion at Anfield, Klopp told Sky Sports, “It can't be. “I truly don't know whether it's me; I don't understand how he looks at me. I didn't use any foul language or anything else in my celebration of the fourth official, but it wasn't required. I was instantly penalised for it by pulling my hamstring, adductor, or whatever. Okay, that's fair; fine. However, what he said to me at the time he gave me the yellow card is unacceptable.
After listening to the tape of Tierney's chat with Klopp, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, which is in charge of the Premier League's referees, backed Tierney.
Tierney “acted in a professional manner throughout, including when issuing the caution to the Liverpool manager,” the PGMOL said in a statement on Monday, “so, therefore, we strongly refute any suggestion that Tierney's actions were improper.” Match officials in the Premier League are recorded in all games via a communications system, the PGMOL added.
Prior to Liverpool's last five games, Klopp, who also criticised Tierney for giving Tottenham a free kick that resulted in the equaliser, might face further punishment. Liverpool, which is now in fifth place, has a remote possibility of making the Champions League, but it would need to narrow a seven-point deficit to Manchester United, which is currently in fourth place but has played one less game.
When the English Football Association won an appeal case regarding Klopp's criticism of an assistant referee during a home victory over Manchester City in October, the German was given a one-game suspension and warned about his behaviour.
In each of Klopp's first six full seasons in charge, Liverpool has reached the Champions League round of 16, winning the competition in 2019 against Tottenham and losing the other two times to Real Madrid.
Liverpool would likely lose out on roughly 50 million euros ($55 million) in prize money from UEFA if they played in the second-tier Europa League the following season.
The following week, Liverpool will host Fulham on Wednesday and Brentford on Saturday at Anfield.