In the aftermath of Jurgen Klopp‘s comments about referee Paul Tierney, Liverpool contacted the FA to complain of unfair treatment of Mo Salah.
Klopp has learned his punishment for the perceived insinuation of bias from Tierney against Liverpool following the 4-3 win over Tottenham in April.
The manager was fined £75,000 and issued a two-match ban, with one of those suspended, meaning he will miss the final home game of the season against Aston Villa on Saturday.
His run-in with Tierney appears to have stemmed from a buildup of incidents, including two particular challenges on Salah – in the aforementioned victory over Spurs and the 1-0 win over Man City in October.
On both occasions, Salah was hauled down in the direct eye-line of the linesman, and on both occasions did not receive a foul.
In his tussle with Tottenham defender Ben Davies, in fact, the foul went the other way, much to the frustration of Klopp and his No. 11.
After confirming Klopp’s punishment on Thursday afternoon, the FA published the documentation of their case against the German.
It is revealed in these notes that, in correspondence with the FA during their investigation, Liverpool complained over unfair treatment of Salah by officials.
The statement reads:
“Liverpool wrote a lengthy letter dated 3 May 2023 in response to the charge against Mr Klopp.
“Liverpool’s letter continued, explaining its belief that Salah had not been treated fairly by a number of refereeing decisions during the season.
“Whilst making clear that it made no accusations against Mr Tierney, Liverpool pointed to the fact that he had been involved in what it considered to have been a number of questionable decisions involving the club.
“That, it said, had led to a degree of sensitivity regarding Mr Tierney.”
Tierney was not involved at the clash with Man City in October, but has experienced a number of issues with Klopp in the past, dating back as far as 2017.
It seems almost irrefutable that defenders are often given the benefit of the doubt in challenges on Salah, with the Egyptian only adjudged to have been fouled 31 times in the Premier League this season.
That is fewer than 61 other players and at least half as many times as nine separate players – including Arsenal and England winger Bukayo Saka, who was fiercely defended by the Times‘ Henry Winter during Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton.
“At some point officials are going to have to discuss whether they are prepared to protect players like Bukayo Saka,” Winter wrote on Twitter.
Per WhoScored, Salah has attempted 120 dribbles in this season’s top flight, with only six players attempting more – of which Saka is top, with 156.
The 30-year-old averages a 37.5 dribble success rate and averages 3.9 attempted dribbles per foul given.
In their statement, the FA made no further comment on Liverpool’s complaint over Salah’s treatment, with their focus instead on Klopp.