Tuesday, February 27News That Matters

Thomas Frank hits back at Jurgen Klopp’s dig at Brentford over set-pieces

Thomas Frank has dismissed Jurgen Klopp’s complaints about Brentford’s style of play after the Liverpool boss accused the club of ‘stretching the rules’.

The Reds suffered a 3-1 defeat on Monday night, with the hosts causing havoc on set-pieces – particularly in the first half, and taking a two-goal lead through Konate own goal and a Yoane Wissa header.

Klopp made triple substitution at the break and Liverpool pulled a goal back through Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the game was put to bed in the 84th minute when Mbeumo out-muscled Konate and stroked the ball home.

But Klopp was unhappy with Brentford’s physicality after the game, blasting referee Stuart Atwell and claiming the home team’s third goal should not have stood.

He also felt Atwell missed a number of infractions in the set-pieces from which Brentford were so dangerous, saying they ‘stretch the rules in these moments with full body contact’.

But Frank played down Klopp’s complaints, highlighting the number of officials and referees involved in matches who could flag any issues, and took Klopp’s annoyance as a compliment.

Asked about Klopp’s comments, Frank pulled a face and said: ‘I guess we have some very, very good refs, I think there are four on the pitch, and then we have a VAR room.

‘It has never been more difficult to score a goal. Two of our goals were disallowed today, I think neither of them were flagged as offside so in a game [without VAR] we probably would have got them.




‘But I’m of course happy that he praised us and it’s a credit to the good work we do about our offensive set-pieces.’

Bemoaning Brentford’s style of play, Klopp had told Sky Sports: ‘I’m not sure you can really control it all the time because each corner is a massive threat. They stretch the rules in these moments with full body contact.

‘There was only one offensive foul on a set-piece tonight which was whistled and that was against us, which is really funny. Holding is holding, and pushing is pushing.

‘It was more the game they wanted than the one we wanted. They could dictate it because of how it got whistled.

‘The two corners they scored with, one was offside and the other one, of course we don’t behave perfectly, but they stretch rules. They are really pushing, they are really holding. That’s obviously what you can do.

‘The third goal I can really not respect. The ref thought it wasn’t a foul and then VAR hides behind the phrase “clear and obvious”. The referee has to explain that, if anybody could ask him.

‘There’s a reason why they are so successful with offensive set-pieces and still concede a lot of defensive goals around set-pieces, because there you cannot do the same stuff because in your own box, it would be a penalty.’

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