Jurgen Klopp is in the hot water with the FA for his touchline antics and post-match comments following Liverpool’s dramatic 4-3 win over Tottenham. The German reignited his long-running feud with referee Paul Tierney following the match, accusing the official of having something against the Reds.
“We have our history with Tierney, I really don’t know what he has against us, he has said there is no problem but that cannot be true,” he told Sky Sports after the seven-goal thriller.
Following Diogo Jota’s last-gasp winner, 90 seconds after Richarlison’s equaliser, Klopp got in the face of the fourth official. On the incident, the Liverpool boss said: “How he looks at me, I don’t understand it. My celebration was unnecessary, which is fair but what he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.”
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When asked what Tierney had said, Klopp added: “I will not say anything about it. The refs don’t say what is said so I don’t say what is said.”
Klopp escaped a touchline ban in October and was instead fined £30,000 by an independent commission following his sending-off for confronting referee Anthony Taylor during Liverpool’s match against Manchester City at Anfield. However, he may not be so fortunate following this game.
In light of another manager-referee spat, we round up seven other moments when bosses have lost their cool with officials…
Nuno blasts Mason
In 2020, Nuno Espirito Santo, then in charge of Wolves, went on a blistering rant about Lee Mason after a 2-1 defeat against Burnley.
“It is his job. He has to improve, he has to get better,” he said. “Football is a physical game, a game of contact and referees taking the decisions and being fair. But the referee is not good enough to whistle. Lee Mason is not good enough.
“It isn't about the major, crucial decisions. It is the way he handles the players – both teams lose their focus, they are always arguing the decision.
“He must improve because the game requires good refereeing and good handling of the game so the players are able to keep on performing.”
Pep’s double standards claim
Pep Guardiola recently took a swipe at referees in general, accusing them of double standards over the issue of time-wasting.
The Manchester City head coach has been one of several Premier League bosses to accuse Newcastle of deliberately slowing up play. And ahead of the match between the sides, Guardiola said City had been unfairly punished for the offence, with several of his players, including Ederson and Erling Haaland, picking up yellow cards.
“If it’s a waste of time, we will have a yellow card for Ederson [against Arsenal], don’t worry,” said the City boss sarcastically.
“We are the team with the least waste of time and the first time we go to Arsenal away, after 35, 37 minutes, we got a yellow card so don't worry about wasting time. It depends on the referee but I'm pretty sure the yellow will be for Ederson.
“How many thousand million games do teams come to Etihad Stadium and waste time for the keepers? Twenty seconds every time, the goal kick and long ball and long ball and long ball nothing happens. Absolutely nothing happens. And after we go there, we want to be active to play and we get a yellow card.”
Rodgers hints at bias
Another mention for Lee Mason, who was at the centre of a bias insinuation from then Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers following a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.
In 2013, Rodgers was angered by the decision to award offside against Raheem Sterling, despite television replays showing he was behind the last defender. The Northern Irishman was also upset that Mason, who is from Greater Manchester, was placed in charge of the game.
“I thought my players were absolutely outstanding and took the game to a team who are a top side, but had no help from the officials, who I thought were horrendous,” he fumed.
“I was surprised we were playing in Manchester and have a referee from Greater Manchester. Where do you want me to start? I thought we never got any decision. The linesman on the offside one wasn’t even on the same cut of grass.”
Jose: They can punish me
In the final days of his second stint at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho earned himself a misconduct charge for comments following a 3-1 defeat to Southampton. His anger was aimed at referee Robert Madley, who refused to give a penalty when Falcao went down under a challenge from goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
“When you are so down, I think it's time to be a little bit honest and to say clearly the referees are afraid to give decisions for Chelsea,” said the Portuguese boss. “The result was 1-1 when it was a huge penalty, and, once more, we didn't get one. And the penalty was a crucial moment in the game with the result 1-1.
“And, I repeat, if the FA wants to punish me, they can punish me. They don't punish other managers, they punish me, but it's not a problem for me.”
The FA said Mourinho’s comments “implied bias on the part of a match official”.
Pochettino vs Mike Dean
Then Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was so angry with referee Mike Dean following a defeat at Burnley in 2019, he confronted the official, repeatedly shouting “you know what you are”.
Then, away from the pitch, Pochettino was waiting for Dean in the tunnel at Turf Moor and had to be escorted away by Burnley security staff.
In his match referee’s report, Dean said: “At the conclusion of the game I was approached on the field of play by the Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino and some members of his coaching staff including first-team coach Jesus Perez.
“Mr Pochettino acted in a very irresponsible and aggressive manner. He wouldn’t stop saying ‘you know what you are, you know what you are’. I asked him to explain and he repeated ‘you know what you are’.
“I then said on numerous occasions to go away at least 10 times and he wouldn’t get out of my personal space and then aggressively pointed his finger just a few inches from my face, again saying ‘you know what you are’.”
Pochettino apologised for his behaviour but that didn’t stop him being hit with a two-match touchline ban and a £10,000 fine.
Ole blames 'outside influences'
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘too nice to be a manager’ persona slipped as he let rip following Manchester United’s draw with Chelsea in 2021.
Despite VAR advising referee Stuart Atwell to watch a replay of an incident in which Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi appeared to handle the ball in the box, Attwell opted to stick with his original on-field decision of a free-kick for Chelsea during the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Asked if he thought his side should have been given a penalty, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “Yep, 100 per cent. They're shouting it's handball for our player, but when you look at it on the video, it's taken two points away from us.”
Solskjaer then blamed “outside influences” for what he saw as the lack of decisions going United’s way.
“It's not right, is it?” he said. "It's all these outside influences, even the VAR talk before the game here on Harry [Maguire], when they put that on the website [in a match preview Chelsea inferred Maguire was lucky not concede a penalty the previous weekend], that's cheeky. It's influencing referees. You can go back and look at the website. It's putting pressure on the referees to give penalties against us.
“We've seen, there was a manager – was it Frank [Lampard]? There's loads of talk about us getting penalties, when there is no doubt whatsoever. Now we should've had one, that's clear to this.”
Warnock's ‘celebrity’ tirade
Dropping out of the Premier League, you can always rely on Neil Warnock for a spot of ref-bashing. In fact, you could donate an entire article to the veteran boss’s rants alone.
We’ve picked out one particularly scathing assessment from Middlesbrough’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea in March 2021. Warnock, then in charge of Boro, was furious with several of referee Gavin Ward’s decisions and went on a general rant about the state officiating.
“They are all heroes, they all want the celebrity status, don't they?” he said. “It's wrong. My lads have been let down by a team of officials who weren't good enough today.
“Alan Wiley [then PGMOL chief] has got a job on his hands, because they are not good enough, it's not right. It shouldn't be decided on an official. Because they've never played the game and don't understand getting kicked, or being conned, they don't know the big decisions. That's what lets them down, all of them.”
Not stopping there, Warnock also applied then Swansea boss Steve Cooper was benefitting from the fact his father, Keith, was a former referee.
“They can't keep having that much luck with penalties. I don't know if it's Cooper's dad who's influencing this,” he said. “He must have all the numbers. It's the only thing I can think of but, joking apart, they can't keep having decisions like that.”
Warnock was fined £7,000 for the comments.
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