Liverpool’s Klopp blasts ref for denying late City penalty

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool were denied a clear penalty and questioned what VAR official Stuart Attwell had “for lunch” after Alexis Mac Allister was subjected to a 99th-minute chest-high challenge by Manchester City’s Jérémy Doku in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Mac Allister’s second-half penalty, following a foul by City keeper Éderson on Darwin Núñez, earned a point for Liverpool after John Stones had given the champions a first-half lead.

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But Liverpool could have been given the chance to win the game deep into stoppage time had referee Michael Oliver been asked by VAR official Attwell to review Doku’s challenge.

The incident was assessed by Attwell and assistant VAR Nick Hopton, but Oliver was not sent to the pitchside monitor to have the final decision.

“Why would the guy in the VAR room think that’s not clear and obvious?” Klopp said. “What did he have for lunch?”

“It was 100 percent a penalty. They [officials] will find an explanation. It was 100 percent foul in all areas of the pitch and probably a yellow card.

“Somebody will tell me how it was not a penalty, or Howard [Webb, head of Professional Game Match Officials Ltd.] will call me tomorrow and say he is sorry. These are the two possible outcomes and both things will not change the result.

“All the people with iPads around me were, ‘Wow, clear.’ Maybe they can hide behind the phrase it is not clear and obvious.

“It is of course a penalty but we didn’t get it and that is fine. The most important thing for me is that we can play football like that. I saw so many sensational performances today.”

The draw keeps Liverpool one point clear of City, but a point behind leaders Arsenal in the race for the title. City face Arsenal at the Etihad on March 31.

Given the absence of a number of key players because of injury, Klopp was full of praise for his team for earning the draw at Anfield.

“Sensational,” Klopp said. “The first 10 minutes we were in a bit of a rush and Manchester City were directly there. The second half was the best we ever played against City, definitely.

“They hit the post of course but we should have scored two or three goals. Exceptional football game. Wow!

“For me, we proved today the first time 100 percent we are exactly where we should be. We will fight for it and see what we can get.

“I don’t think I’ve seen them [City] struggling like they were today. We were outstanding.

“The mother of all results is the performance: the good things we have to keep doing.”

City remain in the hunt for a second successive treble after avoiding defeat at Anfield, but manager Pep Guardiola said his side had to survive a “tsunami” to win a point.

“We have to never ever forget when we play in this stadium, otherwise we don’t have a chance, knowing it will be so difficult,” Guardiola said.

“We knew we would have 10-15 minutes when it is a tsunami and you have to survive.

“It was a tight game on moments. Not a game where all the time a team controls it.

“A lot of credit to Liverpool. They proved again what they have done is unbelievable for this rivalry. I know how difficult it is to come here and win.

“The players gave everything. I give credit to the opponents and take the point.”

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