Klopp furious after Liverpool denied late penalty as Guardiola praises Man City spirit

Sunday's Premier League clash at Anfield ends 1-1 to keep the title race wide open

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was baffled by the decision not to award his team a late penalty in the 1-1 Premier League draw with Manchester City on Sunday, while Pep Guardiola praised his players for surviving a second-half “tsunami”.

John Stones gave City the lead midway through the first half when he poked home a Kevin de Bruyne corner before Alexis Mac Allister fired home a second-half penalty to level.

But just before the final whistle, Liverpool were screaming for a penalty to no avail when Jeremy Doku challenged Mac Allister in the box, with his boot catching the Argentine midfielder in the chest.

“Hits him on the chest,” Klopp told reporters. “Does he touch the ball before? Yes. Does that make any difference, on any position on the pitch, if your leg is that high? You can kick the ball before, and after that the foot is here [Klopp points to his chest] and you go off.”

The officials disagreed and the VAR did not send the referee to have a second look after checking the decision.

Klopp said: “Why would the guy in the VAR studio think 'Ah that's not clear and obvious'? What must you have had for lunch if you think that's not clear and obvious?”

The manager insisted, however, that he was already over the controversial moment, even if it comes back to bite Liverpool in the league title race.

“I have to speak so often about it, and I really don't care, I'm already over it, it's absolutely fine. We'd love to get it, yeah, but nothing that I say – at least I learned that – will change that.

“So would have loved to have used one of the massive chances we created. [But] for us, the most important information is we are right there. So, we go the distance. Let's see what we get for it, but the boys fought so hard for absolutely everything to be there.”

While the Anfield thriller lived up to its blockbuster billing, Klopp said the excitement was not enough for him to question his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“These games are good games, great games, fantastic football games,” Klopp said. “I met my missus after the game and she was completely buzzing. So it must be good fun to watch it from the stands as well.

“So, that's why I'm not sure if I really would miss something when I'm allowed to watch football games. But it was a good game.”

Liverpool v Man City player ratings

Guardiola, meanwhile, said the riveting match was a testament to the standards set by both clubs in recent years, and the City manager paid tribute to his team for standing firm in an intense atmosphere.

“It is a game that defined where both clubs have been for many years,” Guardiola said. “This is our opponent and not one time [have they] dropped, maybe one season but always they will be there.

“Today I reflected with the guys what we have done over the years against Jurgen’s team. Give us more credit for what we have done. To us already it was clear. Arsenal last year came back and stayed there for a long time because they are a young team with an exceptional manager.

“There are still 10 games to play, 30 points to play for, one point difference. Still, we are there. That is the important thing.”

Guardiola is still to win in front of a crowd at Anfield as City's only victory stretching back to 2003 remains in a behind-closed-doors clash in 2021.

“Before the goal we had chances with huge personality in the first half and after it was difficult because they have [Wataru] Endo and MacAllister and extra passes and quality to play before they were maybe more direct,” Guardiola added.

“We gave away the penalty and sooner or later in this stadium you have 15 or 20 minutes where it’s like a tsunami. We talk [about keeping the ball] but sometimes you can’t because they are the best team I’ve ever seen at high pressing.

“We were able to do it in the last two games at the Etihad, we drew. But here it is completely different, the fact of the environment is a reality, and the players know it and the opponents know it. When we are able to do it we never try to forget to play. That’s what I like because sometimes it’s difficult.”

The result leaves Arsenal top of the table in the tight title race. Liverpool are second on goal difference, while City are third with a point separating the top three teams.

Updated: March 11, 2024, 6:11 AM