Football

‘Klopp doesn’t look happy with football’ – Liverpool boss adversely affected by VAR & substitutions controversy, says Lawrenson

The Reds legend thinks the German head coach has lost a bit of faith in the game after a turbulent start to the 2020-21 season

Jurgen Klopp “doesn’t look happy with football”, according to Mark Lawrenson, who says the Liverpool boss has been adversely affected by the controversy surrounding VAR and substitutions.

Klopp has not been the same passionate, animated figure on the touchline of previous years at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, with fist pumps and cheers replaced by finger-pointing and angry outbursts.

Liverpool have been on the end of several contentious refereeing decisions which have prompted the German head coach to question whether video technology is a good addition to the game, while a mounting injury crisis has forced him to stretch his squad to the limit.

Klopp has made no secret of his desire to see the five substitutions rule that was used post-lockdown last term reinstated amid the congested fixture schedule caused by the coronavirus crisis, and has also taken aim at broadcasters for the early kick-off times which have been handed out to the Reds.

Despite his growing list of complaints, the 53-year-old has still been able to guide Liverpool back to the Premier League summit, with a 2-1 home win over second-placed Tottenham on Wednesday ensuring that they have a three-point lead to defend heading into the festive period.

Klopp reacted with bemusement to a comment from Spurs boss Jose Mourinho as they shook hands after the final whistle though, with the Portuguese later revealing to the press that he told his managerial counterpart “the best team lost”.

Lawrenson thinks a man who guided the Reds to their first league title in 30 years last season is a far more spiky character than usual because of the off-field issues which have provided an unwelcome distraction to both him and his players in recent months.

“I think at the moment, although they won last night and he’ll be delighted with the way they won, he doesn’t look happy with football,” the Liverpool legend told talkSPORT.

“I’m not saying he doesn’t look happy with Liverpool, the team or the results, but he just doesn’t look happy with football.

“There’s VAR, and everybody has peeved about VAR, the lack of fans, and the big thing is the five subs rule.

“I think he’s got a point and everyone will come round to that. When he first said about having five subs I thought no, it just makes the stronger teams even stronger.

“But when you look at football now and the amount of games we’re having, they’ve had the whole European group campaign in about four of five weeks, which they’ve had to do, as well as league and cup games – it’s mad.

“So I think this could be a special year and I do think they should bring it in.

“And the things with fans, without spectators the game is just completely different. Even last night with 2,000 at Anfield it’s just very, very strange.

“Klopp, Mourinho, They want a perfect world and they want to win every week, all managers are the same.”

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