Liverpool match Manchester United’s point total at the halfway point with the club’s fifth win under Jürgen Klopp. However, an end-of-game skirmish between Klopp and Sam Allardyce is what has the town talking.
The Reds topped Sunderland 1-0 on Wednesday in the Stadium of Light thanks to a Christian Benteke goal just after the half-time whistle. However, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the profligacy of latter-day Dortmund under Klopp, the side spurned chance after chance to put the match beyond doubt late on.
With the victory, Liverpool now have 30 points this season, which slots them seventh behind Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United squad on goal difference. The Reds have 18 points from 11 Premier League matches since Klopp took over for Brendan Rodgers, while van Gaal has guided Manchester United to 14 points over that same time frame.
“You can see we have both 30 points,” Jürgen Klopp told the BBC after the match. “I think in this moment Liverpool feels not too bad and in Man Utd the atmosphere is not the best.”
During Klopp’s double-winning 2010/11 season with Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Louis van Gaal parted company. The United manager has faced hefty criticism from the fans in recent weeks, especially on the aesthetic front, but the Red Devils’ 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday was broadly seen as a positive attacking performance.
Lens tackle enrages Klopp
Sunderland did not make things easy for Liverpool, but Klopp felt hard done by after Black Cats midfielder Jeremain Lens put in a hard challenge on Reds defender Mamadou Sakho.
The event sent Klopp and his backroom staff into a tizzy on the Liverpool bench, with “The Guardian” reporting that a nearby police officer told the German to calm down. Sakho, who had returned from a knee injury earlier in December, was able to continue; Lens received only a yellow for his controversial challenge.
Klopp voiced his dismay for Lens not receiving a straight red. Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce brushed off the incident. “If he thinks that’s a red card, then he’s a soft German,” said Allardyce. “It’s a yellow, a foul. There was some foul and abusive langauge towards my staff and I didn’t like that.”
Klopp’s fiery touchline character got him into hot water with the DFB German football association on more than one occasion at Dortmund.