Liverpool’s Klopp says referee treated Mané unfairly in defeat by Real
Jürgen Klopp accused German referee Felix Brych of having a personal issue with Sadio Mané but admitted Liverpool had only itself to blame for a damaging 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinal.
Liverpool requires another momentous second-leg comeback at Anfield next Wednesday after suffering a repeat of the 2018 Champions League final scoreline, and its 10th defeat of 2021, courtesy of two goals from Vinícius Júnior and one from Marco Asensio, the Guardian reported.
The Spain international scored following a dreadful mistake by Trent Alexander-Arnold and seconds after Brych dismissed Liverpool’s appeals for a foul by Lucas Vázquez on Mané. An incensed Klopp made his feelings known to the match officials at half and full time, and claimed the referee was “unfair” on the Senegal international throughout the first leg.
“Most importantly, we didn’t deserve to win tonight,” the Liverpool manager said when asked about the Mané incident. “We didn’t play good enough for that. That’s my first concern. Especially in the first half we didn’t play good enough football.
“A game is a summary of momentum if you want and when we had good momentum on the ball we changed that immediately by giving the ball away. We conceded the first goal and served the second on a plate but that was not the real problem of the game. Second half we played better football, and tried to create against a really passionate and deep defending Real side which is difficult. We scored our goal and that is ‘the’ positive of the night. Did we deserve more than 3-1? I’m not sure.
“The situation with Sadio – what the ref did tonight I don’t understand. For me that was something personal because he dealt with the situation with Sadio, which was a clear foul, like he was a diver or whatever. From that moment on whenever Sadio went down he didn’t get anything. That is not right. That is what I told him after the game, that I thought he was unfair with Sadio. That doesn’t change anything at all. He didn’t lose the game. We were not good enough to get a better result, but in these moments you need just an ‘ok’ ref. That would have been enough.”
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, praised his forward Vinícius Jr. for rising to the big occasion after the Brazilian’s two goals helped his side to the victory.
Vinícius was signed by Real from Brazilian giants Flamengo when he was just 16 and despite showing flashes of brilliance and exceptional dribbling ability, his time in Spain has often been overshadowed by lackluster finishing, Reuters reported.
Before Tuesday he had scored only 12 goals in 105 Real games while his erratic play led to strike partner Karim Benzema telling teammate Ferland Mendy to avoid passing to the forward during halftime at a Champions League game earlier this season.
“I’m delighted for him, we are seeing some fantastic stuff from him right now,” Zidane told reporters.
“We know how good he can be when he gets into space, as he showed with the first goal, which was fantastic.
“He was lacking a goal here or there and getting two tonight will really lift his confidence, he deserved what happened tonight,” added Zidane.
Vinícius, who kissed the Real badge after each of his goals, admitted he was exhausted after his performance.
“I gave everything for this shirt, which I love so much,” he said.
“People on the outside can talk all they want but I always worked, my teammates have given me the strength I needed to get to this stage and score the goals we needed.”