Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that he did not understand the referee’s treatment of Sadio Mane during the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

The German head coach claims there was ‘something personal’ in the referee’s decisions against Mane as he was treating him as a diver. Klopp, speaking about Lucas Vazquez’s shove, says Mane was clearly fouled despite the referee not awarding a free-kick.

Klopp adds that the referee then ignored every foul against Mane when he went to the floor and reveals that he spoke to the referee after the game about this topic.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Klopp aired his frustrations at the referee’s performance. “The situation with Sadio, what the ref did I have to say I don’t understand. For me that was something personal because he dealt with the situation with Sadio, which was a clear foul, like he was a diver or whatever.

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Treatment of Mane by referee (pictured) questioned by Klopp

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“From that moment on whenever Sadio went down he didn’t get anything. That is not right. That is what I told him after the game, that I thought he was unfair with Sadio. That doesn’t change anything at all. He didn’t lose the game. We were not good enough to get a better result, but in these moments you need just an ‘OK’ ref. That would have been enough.”


It is harsh for Klopp to suggest that the referee had a personal vendetta against Mane, but some of the decisions – in retrospect – look fairly poor. At full speed, it can sometimes be difficult to spot the small details and the referee might not have been in the best position to see the fouls on Mane, which could then have come across as him being biased against the Liverpool man, so he should be given the benefit of the doubt for this game.

However, the push from Vazquez on Mane in the first-half did look to be a clear foul. The ball came over the top of the defence and Mane appeared to be clear through on goal before Vazquez cut across the winger and barged him to the deck with zero intention of playing the ball. The referee completely ignored the incident, potentially not seeing the shove from the Spaniard, and Klopp is justified with his anger at that decision.

Despite this decision, and a couple of other smaller incidents during the game, the referee’s treatment of Mane, in particular, should not be in question. It should be his overall performance and positional sense to spot fouls that should be the topic for debate, as his treatment of Mane was only a part of what Klopp alludes to being a poor display by the official.

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