Jurgen Klopp’s poor disciplinary record and his failure to heed previous conduct warnings have proved aggravating factors which led to the Liverpool manager receiving a two-match touchline ban for implying bias by referee Paul Tierney.
Klopp was fined Stg 75,000 ($A140,000) and will not be in the technical area for Liverpool’s final Premier League home game of the campaign against Aston Villa on Saturday but the second match of his punishment has been suspended until the end of next season.
The German admitted a charge of improper conduct in that his comments about Tierney implied bias, questioned the integrity of the referee and brought the game into disrepute.
Klopp, who was booked for celebrating in the face of fourth official John Brooks after Diogo Jota’s added-time goal in the 4-3 win over Tottenham last month, suggested in post-match interviews what Tierney had said to him in issuing the caution was “not OK”.
He went on to add “we have our story, history, with Mr Tierney. I really don’t know what this man has with us”.
The independent disciplinary commission, in its written reasons, said the Professional Game Match Officials Limited viewed Klopp’s comments as an “unwarranted attack on Mr Tierney’s integrity” and so immediately issued a statement in defence of the official.
Klopp later apologised, clarifying his words and denying he had questioned Tierney’s integrity.
While that apology and his letter to the commission were deemed “considerable mitigation”, it was his history which counted against Klopp.
“Mr Klopp has a poor record for disciplinary offences, having appeared before commissions on three occasions in the past five years,” said the commission in its written reasons.
“In November 2022 in an appeal in which two members of the present commission sat, Mr Klopp received a touchline ban, a fine and a warning.
“Those sanctions plainly failed to deter Mr Klopp from committing nine similar breaches of the rules. Mr Klopp is a high-profile individual in the football world. He must have known that what he said would attract widespread publicity.
“He should have realised that it was incumbent on him to restrain himself and to behave properly.
“The intense media interest that followed Mr Klopp’s remarks was highly damaging.”
Klopp created a problem for himself when he charged down the touchline following Jota’s goal after Tottenham’s 90th-minute equaliser had cancelled out Liverpool’s earlier 3-0 lead.
From evidence obtained from the officials’ audio, Brooks told Tierney: “Jurgen Klopp has just run and celebrated in my face. I think it’s a yellow card mate, minimum”.
VAR backed up Brooks’ opinion and in booking Klopp, Tierney said: “I have to show you yellow… it could be red, but I am going to show you yellow. We will give you the benefit of the doubt, don’t do anything more.”
Those were the comments Klopp deemed “not OK” but it was not his behaviour on the pitch which produced the disciplinary charge but the aspersions he cast at Tierney, which he subsequently withdrew in a press conference a couple of days later and in a letter of apology to the commission.
Klopp spelled out his regret in his letter, saying: “Although it was not my intention I accept now it appears that I was questioning Mr Tierney’s integrity. I take ownership of this. On reflection, the words I used were inappropriate.
“To be absolutely clear, I know that Mr Tierney, along with all other officials, do their work without any pre-conceived bias or prejudice.”