Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has discussed his mixed feelings towards Jurgen Klopp, lifting the lid on the Liverpool boss’ failed attempts to intimidate him before matches.
Clattenburg spent 13 years as an official in the English top flight, leaving the Premier League in 2017 to work in Saudi Arabia and China.
He has opened up on his experiences as a referee in his new autobiography Whistle Blower, in which the Daily Mail picked up some fascinating stories from Clattenburg about his dealings with Klopp over the years.
“Jurgen Klopp. Brilliant manager. Sour loser,” Clattenburg wrote. “I first came across him in April 2014. His Borussia Dortmund side lost 3-0 at Real Madrid in a Champions League quarter-final first leg.
“After the game, I came out of my dressing room and Real defender Marcelo and his wife asked for a picture. It was a private picture on their phone so I said yeah, no problem. Klopp walked past just as the photo was being taken. ‘Oh, so that’s why we got beat, is it?’ he said. He was not being humorous or friendly, he was being sarky.
“‘You’re lucky you only got beat 3-0,’ I said. The fact we were in Madrid probably gave me a bit of bravado to answer back. It annoyed me when managers could not be gracious in defeat.
“Klopp never took losing well. When he was winning he was happy, he was good fun. When things were not going his way, he got prickly.”
Clattenburg’s last interaction with Klopp three years later was equally as bizarre for the former official.
“My final game with Klopp was in January 2017 against Chelsea at Anfield,” he continued. “Managers rarely came into my dressing room for the exchange of team-sheets an hour before kick-off. On this occasion, Klopp came in with Jordan Henderson. It was bizarre, he stood and stared at me for about 30 seconds. I just stared back at him. I could see Jordan was a bit like, ‘What the hell’s going on?’
“Did Klopp think I was stupid? I was not going to be bullied by him. He left and all I thought was: ‘What a strange bloke.’”