I thought congratulations were due to Craig Pawson and Michael Oliver after last Sunday’s performances in two of the biggest games of the season so far. They both got the big calls correct in my opinion, although, like any player analysing their own performance, they will have identified where they could have done better.
Oliver, for example, should have cautioned City’s Gabriel Jesus for simulation at Old Trafford, but I doubt if anyone really needed to tell him as much afterwards.
What came out of Anfield, rather than the general consensus there should have been, that one of our top refs had got the balance just right, was one more disappointing bun-fight, and while I feel Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is in the wrong, I don’t think he deserves to be slaughtered, either.
The German reacted to questions about the crucial Lovren penalty challenge in the heat of the moment, when what will have been uppermost in his mind was the failure of his team to capitalise on their overwhelming superiority over a poor Everton team.
Big Nigel Pearson is an old mate of mine and I know for a fact there was no malice when he, like Klopp, had his own high-profile exchange with a member of the media towards the end of his tenure at Leicester. The Mirror’s John Cross and TalkSPORT’s Alvin Martin, a former Southend manager, had words over a similar storm in a teacup a while back, too.
What people should try and understand is that it’s not a case of the professionals either closing ranks and looking down their noses or letting the mask slip and revealing that none of us respect anyone else’s opinion until they have served their time on our side of the fence.
No, it’s worth remembering how straightforward and blunt a world it is behind that dressing room door. Klopp will have just delivered his thoughts to his players in a way he could not afford to be misunderstood, and then he comes out and has a microphone poked in his face by someone who would not be doing their own job if they were not looking for a reaction.
But surely we can’t insist on having it all ways up? Everyone is keen to hear the real thoughts of these guys, as soon as possible, so when that’s exactly what we get, let’s not be too sensitive about it, OK? It’s not that Klopp’s first language is not English, it’s the fact that dialogue among football people can be so brutal that has caused the fall-out.
Now, I know Patrick Davison of Sky, and I admired how he took what Klopp said and challenged it. He stood his ground and was well within his rights to ask what he did.
Sometimes, if we are being completely honest, we want managers to be led up the garden path in the immediate aftermath of a game. We are, in effect, asking these guys to add to the live spectacle and drama of a TV show, so let’s not slam them too hard when they do just that… it’s easily done, don’t forget!
Ultimately I hope there are no grudges held as a result of the interview and that we can stop blowing these exchanges out of proportion, because, even though Klopp did go out on a limb on this one, it’s time to move on.