Thomas Frank reacts to Jurgen Klopp’s dig at Brentford over set-pieces
Thomas Frank has downplayed Jurgen Klopp’s complaints about Brentford’s style of play after the Liverpool manager accused the Bees of “stretching the rules.”
On Monday night, the Merseysiders lost 3-1 at the Community Stadium. The hosts caused havoc on set-pieces, especially in the first half, and took a two-goal lead through an Ibrahima Konate own goal and a Yoane Wissa header.
Klopp made a triple substitution at half-time and Liverpool pulled a goal back through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the match was put to bed in the 84th minute when Bryan Mbeumo out-muscled Konate and stroked the ball home.
However, after the game, Klopp was upset with Brentford’s rough play and criticized the referee, Stuart Atwell, saying the home team’s third goal shouldn’t have stood.
He also felt Atwell missed a host of infractions during 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 his counterpart’s complaints, highlighting the number of officials and referees now 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 responded: ‘I guess we have some very, very good refs, I think there are four on the pitch, and then we have a VAR room.
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‘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, 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.’