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Klopp wasn't SPOT on with United penalties - but not far off.

Byline: IAN DOYLE Chief LFC Write - an.doyle@reachplc.com @IAN DOYLESport

PERPLEXED by his own players and ruffled by referee Andre Marriner. , Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp then revealed another cause for confusion.

And in doing so, he addressed a matter that has for some time alarmed everyone outside of Old Trafford.

"I heard now that Manchester United have had more penalties in two years when Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) is there than I have in fiveand-a-half years," said Klopp.

"I have no idea if it's my fault, I have no idea how that can happen."

Klopp, unhappy at the performance of his team, was similarly unimpressed with the decision of the officials to ignore a goalbound Gini Wijnaldum shot striking the arm of Jack Stephens and what appeared a foul challenge on Sadio Mane by Kyle Walker- Peters.

Paul penalty after from

With no chance of redemption from the spot, Liverpool slumped to a 1-0 defeat to further underline the difficulties of their title defence.

By the time they entertain Manchester United in their next PREMIER LEAGUE encounter on Sunday week, they could be trailing their bitter North West rivals.

Paul Pogba got the penalty decision after a challenge from Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz

Klopp, though, had good reason to be irked by Mane's altercation not being penalised given, three days earlier, United had a match-winning spot-kick awarded at home to Aston Villa when Paul Pogba benefited from a far more charitable decision.

But is the Liverpool boss correct in his assertion about United's penalty awards? Well, statistically not quite.

However, his general point is very much justified on closer inspection.

Since Solskjaer took over as United boss - initially as caretaker - in December 2018, United have been awarded 42 penalties in 117 games.

Klopp has been in charge of Liverpool since October 2015, since when the Reds have been given 46 penalties in 291 games.

Further intrigue comes when assessing PREMIER LEAGUE games alone since Solskjaer and Klopp began their rivalry in the dugout.

UNITED have had 27 penalties in 75 top-flight games, with Liverpool awarded 16 in 76 matches. During that time, the PREMIER LEAGUE champions have scored 174 PREMIER LEAGUE goals, compared to 124 by the Europa League semi-finalists.

Interestingly, the direct consequence of removing those penalties isn't that much different. The spot-kicks have earned United 19 extra points, with Liverpool's earning 15.

However, that doesn't take into account how the timing of scoring a penalty - such as it being the first goal in an ultimately straightforward win or a second to make life more comfortable - can greatly assist during those 90 minutes and perhaps subsequent games.

Mind you, Manchester City could have even more reason to grumble. They've have had only 18 PREMIER LEAGUE penalties since Solskjaer took charge at United, and without them they'd have exactly the same points tally.

For all the numbers, though, what upset Klopp was the continued inconsistent application of the rules by VAR that has for some time been hampering the efforts of his team.

UNITED's penalty reliance had become a running joke among observers.

But with Solskjaer's side emerging as key beneficiaries of an unprecedented campaign, nobody at Liverpool is laughing anymore.

What happens in Stockley Park when the teams meet next weekend may be of greater interest than anything that happens on the Anfield turf.
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Author:IAN DOYLE Chief LFC Write - an.doyle@reachplc.com @IAN DOYLESport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 6, 2021
Words:556
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