Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp expressed his unhappiness about challenges by Burnley players after his side’s victory over the Clarets at Anfield.
Klopp spoke of his concern over the idea of letting the game flow more and stressed the importance of protecting players, adding: “Watch wrestling if you like these kind of things.”
The Reds won 2-0, with Diogo Jota scoring an 18th-minute header and Sadio Mane doubling the lead with a 69th-minute strike.
Klopp told BT Sport after the match: “Burnley was never a game where you are just flying or whatever and can outplay them, or at least not for us.
“We always had to be ready for a proper fight. We were today in a really difficult game, because you saw these challenges with (Ashley) Barnes and (Chris) Wood and Virgil (Van Dijk) and Joel (Matip).
“I’m not 100 per cent sure if we are really going in the right direction with these kind of decisions. It feels like we go back 10, 15 years back to when we said ‘oh, that was the football we wanted to see’. It’s just too dangerous.
“You cannot really touch the situations. It’s just hard. The rules are what they are, but the thing is you can’t defend these situations.
“(Nick) Pope is the first one, then (Ben) Mee and (James) Tarkowski the next one, and that’s how it makes the game really tricky. That’s not the only balls they played, but they are the most difficult to defend.”
He added: “I heard we want to let the game flow. Now we always have these situations, we had the second goal from Brentford (against Arsenal on August 13) – it must be a foul. These kind of things.
“It’s all fine, we need to get used to it, but I think we have to think about it maybe a second or a third time.
“There’s one message now, let the game flow, and now nobody knows exactly what that means.
“I like all decisions in favour for the offensive team, that’s fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players.
“We cannot deny that completely and say ‘that’s a challenge, I love watching that’. Then watch wrestling if you like these kind of things.”
Klopp also raised the matter in his post-match press conference, saying: “We came from protecting the players slightly more to let the game more flow.
“There is a grey area in between which for sure we will have to adapt again during the season because ‘just let the game run’ doesn’t sound like it makes too much sense. We still need to talk about different things.
“There’s the message, like a headline, ‘let the game more flow’. It started with no soft penalties, which is absolutely fine. But we cannot forget that we have to protect the players as well.”
Liverpool made it two wins from two at the start of their campaign as they played their first Premier League match at a packed Anfield since March 2020.
Klopp said: “I think our dreams were fulfilled today atmosphere-wise. It was really special.
“How the game was as well, pretty special, because Burnley are Burnley – and Burnley cause you problems. We played a good game, we scored two, could have scored more.”
While Trent Alexander-Arnold was limping as the game finished, Klopp said in his BT interview that “nobody got injured”.
No better start to the weekend than that. So good to have a full Anfield again 😍 pic.twitter.com/WfwBTfEOtJ
— Trent Alexander-Arnold (@TrentAA) August 21, 2021
Burnley boss Sean Dyche, whose side have started with two losses, said in his press conference: “I thought overall it was a decent performance.
“Tough place to come today – it is generally, but obviously with the crowd back in, the noise and feel of it. I thought the players handled that really well.
“I thought we should have had a penalty on Dwight McNeil, but we know our record for them.
“We have to tidy up the details, at both ends, because we had chances again today and didn’t quite find that killer moment, but there’s certainly the right energy and feel about the group at the minute.”