Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says referee Paul Tierney appears to have something “against” his team after a remarkable ending to their 4-3 win over Tottenham.
Diogo Jota scored an injury-time winner for the Reds just 99 seconds after Richarlison made it 3-3 – with Liverpool having led 3-0 inside 15 minutes.
Klopp was furious with Spurs being awarded a free-kick which led to their equaliser and ran to scream at the fourth official after the winner, but hurt his leg in front of the Tottenham bench.
He was shown a yellow card by the referee after his celebration.
“We have our history with Tierney, I really don’t know what he has against us,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “He has said there [are] no problems but that cannot be true.
“How he looks at me, I don’t understand it. In England nobody has to clarify these situations, it’s really tricky and hard to understand.
“What he said to me when he gave me the yellow card is not OK.”
PGMOL, the body responsible for Premier League referees, said: “PGMOL is aware of the comments made by Jurgen Klopp after his side’s fixture with Tottenham Hotspur.
“Match officials in the Premier League are recorded in all games via a communications system.
“Having fully reviewed the audio of referee Paul Tierney from today’s fixture, we can confirm he acted in a professional manner throughout including when issuing the caution to the Liverpool manager.
“So, therefore, we strongly refute any suggestion that Tierney’s actions were improper.”
Former England striker Alan Shearer told BBC Match of the Day: “Paul Tierney could have sent Diogo Jota off and he [Klopp] isn’t too quick to mention that.
“Jurgen Klopp was lucky, when he went to the fourth official, just to get the yellow card and it’s not the first time he has done it.”
On his injury, Klopp told BBC Sport: “I’m not sure if it’s the hamstring, it could be the adductor but I got punished.
“I turned around for the celebration because the fourth official got nothing wrong the whole time.
“I didn’t say anything bad, I gave a look which is bad enough. The hamstring or whatever the muscle [is] gave up in that moment. That’s fair.”
The injury did not stop Klopp going to celebrate in front of the Kop afterwards as the Reds overtook Spurs to go fifth in the table.
The German’s disagreement with Tierney appears to date back several years.
In 2020 Tierney reportedly told Klopp to “get over it” after the referee admitted he had missed a foul on Georginio Wijnaldum in a game against Aston Villa.
A year later Klopp approached Tierney and said “I have no problem with any referees, only you”, after Tottenham’s Harry Kane escaped a red card before Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson did see red in a 2-2 draw.
In January this year after a loss to Brentford, Klopp said he had approached the officials – including Tierney – to discuss decisions made during the game.
“That’s exactly the same as I would talk to my microwave, you get no response, really, it’s always the same,” he told beIN Sports.
Earlier this month, Tierney booked Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson after an incident involving assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis.
Klopp was not the only manager furious with the officials at Anfield, with Spurs interim boss Ryan Mason also livid.
Match-winner Jota was fortunate to only be booked for a high boot that cut Oliver Skipp’s face in the 81st minute and Mason called for answers.
“I need an explanation,” he told BBC Sport. “I want to know why the referee on the pitch didn’t see it, but also why an experienced one in the VAR room can’t.
“Honestly, it’s probably the clearest red card you will see on the football pitch. It endangered the opponent, Skipp needs stitches and Jota has scored the goal when he shouldn’t be on the pitch.”
However, Klopp was not sympathetic to Mason’s views despite his own criticism of the referee.
“I understand that. Ryan has to worry about other stuff,” he said. “They can’t just counter-attack, they have to play better football with that team.
“Diogo Jota has the foot high but he’s not going for the head. I heard Oliver Skipp could’ve had a red card [for an earlier tackle on Luis Diaz]. Did he speak about that as well?
“Wanting Diogo Jota off the pitch, worry about other stuff.”
Shearer told Match of the Day: “That is endangering an opponent and Jota was lucky not to get a red card.”
The chaotic match encapsulated the vulnerabilities that leave both teams outside the Champions League places.
Liverpool climbed above Spurs into fifth with their win, but are seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United having played a game more.
“Of course not,” said Klopp when he was asked about finishing in the top four. “We have to win football games to qualify for Europe at all.”
For the second Sunday in a row some Spurs fans were heading back from the north of England to north London not long after kick-off.
Last weekend they trailed Newcastle 5-0 within 21 minutes – with fans leaving at various stages during that time. Tottenham’s players refunded their fans after the 6-1 loss and interim boss Cristian Stellini has since been replaced by Mason.
This time some supporters were seen leaving Anfield after just 15 minutes following goals from Curtis Jones, Diaz and Mohamed Salah, but they missed a commendable fightback.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min gave Tottenham hope before Richarlison’s first Premier League goal for the club looked to have secured a point in injury time, with the former Everton forward booked for removing his shirt in celebration.
However, moments later Jota’s last-gasp strike ensured Tottenham’s comeback was in vain.
“The manner in which we concede the last goal makes it impossible to take,” said Mason. “I need to speak to the players on that, we need to address it and do it quickly.
“You can’t concede four goals as a team and [we need to] take more pride in keeping clean sheets.”
Graeme Souness, who played for both clubs, told Sky Sports: “You have seen Spurs and Liverpool’s season in 90 minutes, sometimes brilliant, sometimes indifferent. That is both teams summed up.”
Tottenham’s all-time top scorer Kane said: “The table doesn’t lie, where we are doesn’t lie. We’ve got some fantastic players and moments but as a team we aren’t playing good enough collectively.
“We need to show we can go through games when it isn’t going our way. We deserve to be where we are.”