Jurgen Klopp has claimed referee Michael Oliver refused Liverpool’s request for a substitution, and believes it may have played a crucial role in allowing Chelsea to equalize.
With Liverpool looking to defend a slender one-goal advantage with five minutes left on the clock, Klopp attempted to change their system in order to provide extra cover in defence.
But Oliver allegedly refused Liverpool’s requests to make the substitution a number of times and Willian scored the equalising goal before the change (Adam Lallana for Philippe Coutinho) was made.
Speaking after the match, Klopp revealed his tactical change was designed specifically to counter the threat Chelsea’s goal-scorer posed, suggesting Willian would have been thwarted in his attempts to score.
Asked why he was angry following Chelsea’s goal. Klopp told BT Sport:
‘I was angry because we wanted to change the system and the referee didn’t give us the opportunity.
‘He told me something about too long. I don’t understand it. How can a change take too long? We didn’t want to do time play or anything, we wanted to change the system.
‘We wanted to change to five at the back and that could have helped a lot where Willian was with the ball. That’s why I was angry.’
Although Liverpool gave away the lead with just a minute of normal time remaining, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game, not least another fine performance from Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian, who scored his 15th goal of the season on Saturday night, was once against the standout performer and Klopp admitted he was growing tired of having to always talk about him after games.
Asked about Salah’s display, he said:
‘I love this player but we cannot speak all the time about this player after the game.
‘He’s fantastic and he did really well and that’s why we left him on the pitch. But I thought it was a really good team performance in a difficult game.’