LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND (REUTERS) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the red card given to Chelsea’s Reece James, in Saturday’s (Aug 28) 1-1 draw, had taken away the chance to see a thrilling second half between the two teams.
Referee Anthony Taylor sent off James after reviewing a goal-line clearance and awarding a penalty which Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah converted to cancel out Kai Havertz’s opener.
While Klopp felt it was a clear handball, he said the double punishment of a red card as well as a penalty had spoilt the game.
“I never liked double punishment but if somebody ever listened to me about rule changes or rules, a lot of things would look completely different,” said Klopp.
“It was absolutely harsh. Spoils the game? Yeah probably. It changed everything, I liked our first half, we were really good, caused Chelsea a lot of problems. It was an incredible intense game from Chelsea as well.
“I would have loved to have seen the game in an 11 v 11 situation and see who comes through better but it’s the way it is,” he said.
While disappointed his team could not go on to win the game, Klopp said that there was no longer a “huge advantage” in having an extra man in the modern game.
“Everything was enjoyable apart from the result. I saw two very good football teams. It was a great first half from us and actually a good second one because it’s so tricky when you play against nine defenders and have to create and create.
“Second half everyone thinks ‘come on’. There is a definite advantage in possession, you have to out-number them and defend them really high, but the defensive structure changes in that case that they are only defending slightly deeper but they have eight players defending that area around the box so we couldn’t use that.
“We had our shots from distance, I would have loved to have been a bit closer for the rebound but it was a good game,” he said.
Klopp said Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, who went off just before the break, had felt a problem in his hamstring.
“Bobby felt his hamstring, came and told us so we had to prepare the change. Bobby is not one who raises the hand when he doesn’t feel anything,” he said.
“It doesn’t look too serious but you never know before you have a scan, which will happen tomorrow.”