Jurgen Klopp admits “surprising” Mo Salah treatment fuels touchline anger

Jurgen Klopp is facing his second ban of the season for an incident which started with a foul on Mohamed Salah being ignored by officials.

Salah, despite his ubiquity on the right flank and his tendency to take players on, is very rarely fouled compared to his Premier League contemporaries.

That is according to statistics, with the Egyptian only being awarded a foul on 31 occasions in this season’s top flight – which is less than half that of seven other players.

A total of 55 players have been fouled more times than Salah this campaign, while 108 are fouled more regularly per 90 minutes.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 6, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is pulled back by Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies (R) during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since joining Liverpool in 2017, the No. 11 has won 155 free-kicks, which is considerably fewer than Jack Grealish in his last three seasons in the Premier League (294).

In reality, Salah is fouled much more, such as on Sunday, when persistently held back by Tottenham defender Ben Davies – despite being directly in front of the linesman, the foul went the other way.

“These stats are surprising. I know them as well, they are really surprising,” Klopp said on Tuesday.

“A guy who has the ball constantly at his feet, who is a dribbler, who scores an insane number of goals over the years and it’s like this.

“How Mo deals with these things, I don’t know. Absolutely exceptional.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is pulled down by Manchester City's Bernardo Silva, but no free-kick was awarded, leading to an incensed manager Jürgen Klopp being sent off, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The incident against Tottenham was one of countless similar, but was notable as it was followed soon after by Richarlison’s equaliser to make it 3-3.

Klopp’s reaction after Diogo Jota won the game 99 seconds later has landed him in trouble, with a fierce celebration in the face of fourth official John Brooks earning him a yellow card and his post-match comments a possible ban.

It comes after a similar protest following Bernardo Silva’s rugby tackle on Salah in the 1-0 win over Man City in October, with a red card that day earning Klopp a one-match touchline suspension.

“For me, in that moment, it’s not ‘again, Mo!’,” he said of his actions on Sunday. “It’s just obvious.

“I think the Bernardo Silva situation was a clear foul on Mo and this situation was clearly not a foul [against Mo].

“Especially if you take the Bernardo Silva into account and now this challenge, this should be the same punishment.

“I don’t understand. I don’t think I’m right or wrong [to react like that] in that moment.

“It’s just, for me in that moment, so obviously wrong or right and if nothing happens after that, then done and dusted.

“But we concede a goal 35 seconds after this incident.”

Klopp is under investigation by the FA for comments made regarding referee Paul Tierney, who booked the Liverpool manager and, according to Klopp, told him he deserved a sending-off.

“I don’t want an excuse for my reaction or whatever, it just explains it,” the German continued.

“It’s like: there’s a foul, there’s a free-kick, there’s the goal.

“Pretty much directly after, we scored a goal. So yes, that was the emotion I was in.

“I’m now in a completely different mood, but this situation, it’s really tricky to deal with.

“You [in the media] had similar conversations with other managers – which isn’t to excuse the behaviour or whatever – but you never had the real situation, being in it.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 30, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“You write about it, but you were never in the situation to really understand.

“I cannot describe it, because it just happens more or less, but the emotions are pretty up and down.

“If all managers would be at home like they are on the touchline, that would be a crazy life.

“We are not obviously, because that’s an extreme situation and this led, in that moment, to that.

“It’s still the wrong reaction, of course, but that’s it.”