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“If you like these challenges, watch wrestling” – Klopp on protecting players

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Jurgen Klopp continues to urge lawmakers and referees to help protect the players after a number of strong challenges in Liverpool‘s win over Burnley on Saturday.

The manager has long been vocal about the need to protect players, whether it be with more substitutions, fewer games or how the game is officiated on the pitch.

On Friday, Klopp asked reporters about their views on goalkeeping incidents in the opening week primarily for Brentford‘s goal against Arsenal involving Bernd Leno.

There was no consensus on whether it should have been a foul or not and the confusion over rules and their enforcement is what Klopp touched on once more after the 2-0 win over Burnley.

Referee Mike Dean awarded 12 free kicks in favour of Liverpool but did not dish out one yellow card to Burnley, despite a number of challenges being worthy of one.

Klopp has no issue with the physicality of the game and the need to be “ready for a proper fight” against the likes of Sean Dyche’s side, but he wants more protection for players.

“You saw these challenges with Barnes and Wood and Virgil and Joel, I’m not 100 percent sure if we’re going in the right direction with all these kinds of decisions,” Klopp told BT Sport post-match.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (L) is challenged by Burnley's Josh Brownhill during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It feels like we go 10, 15 years back and say ‘that is the football we wanted to see’. It’s just too dangerous.

“You cannot really judge the situations, how you get up in the air it’s fine but when you go down and they stand still it’s just hard.

“Let me say, the rules are like they are but I don’t know exactly.

“I think it all started when we changed the rules 20 years ago to protect the players, cannot challenge anyone in the air, you have no influence in the air.

“If you head the ball but the player’s in you and you go to the floor and your leg is not in the right [spot can cause injury], I don’t think it’s right but I cannot decide this stuff.

“I heard we want to let the game flow but it’s always like this, we have these situations.

“We need to get used to it but I think we have to think about it a second more for a third time.

“There’s one message now, let the game flow but no one exactly knows what that means.

“I’m not sure, I like all the decisions in favour of the offensive team that is fine, like offside, but we have to stick to protecting the players.

“We cannot deny that. You cannot say ‘that’s a challenge, I love watching that’ – watch wrestling if you like these kinds of things.”


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