Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho were involved in a heated touchline exchange after the Liverpool manager felt his Manchester United counterpart was trying to get Roberto Firmino sent off at Old Trafford.
Mourinho remonstrated with Craig Pawson, the fourth official, which prompted Klopp – who described it as a “wild game” - to intervene. Klopp had earlier been left frustrated by referee Michael Oliver’s failure to book Wayne Rooney when the United striker caught James Milner on the ankle with his studs.
“He [Klopp] thought I was asking for his player to be sent off,” Mourinho said. “I wasn’t. There was no problem at all.”
Klopp was frustrated Firmino was punished. “He [Mourinho] wanted the minimum of a yellow card, I don’t know,” the German said.
“I think the ref whistled before anything else happened. Roberto is a footballer from head to toe and he wanted to stay in the game. He could have passed the ball but that was a yellow card for Herrera and nothing else.
“In the end it was a yellow card for the guy who wanted to play football. It could have been even worse if someone wants to see it again and all that stuff. We [Mourinho and I] could not have the same opinion in this moment.”
Klopp had appeared slightly put out before the game started that there was no coffee available to drink and that Liverpool had not been given much of a welcome in United’s official matchday programme.
“I read the programme notes and it is the first time that there was nothing about ‘welcome to Liverpool’ or something like this,” he said, only half in jest. “That’s the first thing. Then I wanted a coffee and in the can was only tea. It’s started already, yeah? It’s all OK. It’s football.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed an equaliser six minutes from time with his 13th goal in as many games but felt United got their tactics wrong in the first half.
“We weren’t on the top of our game,” the United striker said. “We played the wrong way in first half - too many mistakes in our build up so we went more direct in the second half We would like to win to close gap but it’s OK as we still haven’t lost. It was a hard fight.”
Klopp said “the ball was 25 minutes in the air” and claimed his players faced a tough challenge physically. “A lot of people before the game would have thought we would get a knock today because United look like a rolling beetle and everything goes in their direction,” Klopp said.
“We needed to be brave, we created the spaces we wanted, we scored the goal. In the end period of the game when United started playing long balls - Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic - after 80 minutes of high intense football it is really hard. They play long balls, it was a wild game.”
“We changed the qualities of our game and went to a more direct approach because Liverpool were defending with so many bodies behind the ball,” Mourinho said.
“In the end we put pressure on them, we equalised and I think, with a few more minutes, we were closer to wining because they were under real pressure and our team was so strong mentally and emotionally. It’s good to see that Liverpool can also play defensively. On the counter-attack they were always dangerous and threatening.
"Liverpool are a team that always press the ball very well. I think we deserved more but the point is something everyone must accept.”