Jürgen Klopp admits Ben Mee tackle was ‘clean’ but bemoans rash sliding in

• Burnley’s Sean Dyche accuses Daniel Sturridge of cheating
• Liverpool still trail Manchester City, despite best ever start

Jürgen Klopp has said Ben Mee did not intentionally injure Joe Gomez and the challenge that fractured the Liverpool defender’s leg was “the cleanest” committed by Burnley at Turf Moor.

Klopp and Sean Dyche were embroiled in an angry exchange following Liverpool’s 3-1 win on Wednesday, with the Burnley manager annoyed by criticism of his players’ tackling. The Liverpool manager asked referee Stuart Attwell to take action over challenges that he believes were rash, but accepted were not fouls.

That prompted Dyche to accuse Daniel Sturridge of cheating – “he is no cheat,” Klopp responded – but Liverpool’s manager sought to clarify his position on Friday and absolve Mee of blame for the injury that will sideline Gomez until the new year.

“I didn’t speak about that tackle, I spoke about these kind of tackles,” explained Klopp, who will also be without Dejan Lovren and probably Sadio Mané at Bournemouth on Saturday.

“I was a player who was late in his mind so I had to judge a situation and I made a lot of sliding tackles in my career. Slide tackles are all different. It’s one thing to block the ball, you clear the ball without taking the player. It’s possible you can slide in, take the ball and everything is fine.

“The first one, Joe was close to the halfway line. If you tell me it’s necessary to go into a situation like that and Joe was already falling over, not because he wanted to, it happened. Then you saw the Bardsley challenge [on Alberto Moreno]. All of them endanger the other player a little bit.

“We all have a lot of respect for each other. For me, being aggressive is the readiness to hurt yourself and not the other player. I understand 100% that Mee did not want to injure Joe. Maybe that was the cleanest tackle of all. I knew after the game it would be like this. If you say an opinion, you’ve got to be ready to accept that a lot of people see it differently.”

Liverpool have made the best start to a top flight season in their history yet find themselves trailing Manchester City by two points before the leaders’ visit to Chelsea on Saturday. Klopp insists the situation is not disheartening.

The Liverpool manager added: “How can you moan about that? The only job we have to do is collect as many points as we can, and then you have to see. We cannot do more. It is absolutely not a problem for us that we go in the dressing room and see the Manchester City result and they have won again. We expect them to win all the time apart from the games against us. We have only to try to play the best season we can play, whatever that means.

“In this difficult period you have to focus completely on your own performance. You cannot play against two teams – the one on the other side of the pitch and the one in your mind. That doesn’t work. Whatever they get at the end of the season they probably deserve. It will be the same for us.”

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Andy Hunter

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