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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hits back at Mark Clattenburg over Man Utd 'hypocrite' claim

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Jurgen Klopp has fired back at Mark Clattenburg after the former Premier League referee accused him of being a hypocrite. The official, who reffed the Champions League and European Championships final in 2016, claimed Klopp is blatantly trying to influence referees following his comments in the aftermath of the 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

The German took a swipe at Manchester United's penalty record following his side's defeat on the South Coast, after Andre Mariner turned down the chance to award the Reds several penalties.

He said: "Man Utd had more penalties in two years than me in five-and-a-half years... but no excuses for tonight."

It's prompted Clattenburg to call out Klopp over his comments ahead of this weekend's unmissable Premier League title clash with United at Anfield.

Clattenburg wrote in his Daily Mail column: "He [Klopp] sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United's players are looking to win penalties. The likes of Mo Salah and [Sadio] Mane are just as capable of employing similar tactics.

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"He is clearly getting edgy, though, because not since Fergie have we seen such a blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game. Klopp wasn't doing this last season when Liverpool were winning every week.

"He does not like losing, he never has. He gets prickly. But he is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions.

"There used to be when Fergie was there, but that has eased massively since he left.

"I am the only referee to give three penalties to the opposition at Old Trafford, and that was for Liverpool, of all teams, in 2014.

"But David Moyes was the manager — I'm not sure that would have happened when Fergie was there!"

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Now Klopp has taken offence to the comments, firing back: "I am not Sir Alex".

He said during a prickly response: “When people like Mark Clattenburg speak it says much more about them than it says about me. I have no skills for playing mind games…” he began.

“I 100 per cent never mention something like [trying to win pens]. It has never happened.

"Am I surprised someone is talking about what I have said? Clattenburg? No.

"It’s nice we can talk about him. I am not Sir Alex for different reasons,” the boss concluded.

Speaking in his manager's notes in Liverpool's official matchday programme, Klopp conceded that he was pleased for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in regards to United's hot form, despite the vicious rivalry between the two clubs.

"Clearly, given the passionate rivalry between our two great clubs it would be pushing to say I'm delighted to see Man United doing so well this campaign," Klopp wrote. "But I can say I am pleased for Ole specifically.

"Such a good guy and a very good coach and leader. It is not difficult to see how much the club means to him when he speaks about it. In Ole, United have a person who has the best interests of the organisation running through him, from head to toes.

"As I say, as Liverpool manager I can't be jumping with joy to see them strong, but I can say I am not surprised. It was entirely expected from my perspective.

"They have given Ole superb backing on and off the pitch and are now reaping the benefits. Big investment into the team and the squad while allowing a manager and his staff time to develop their methods.

"I know from my experiences here that things do not happen quickly simply because expectations demand that they do."

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