Jurgen Klopp gives verdict as Erling Haaland escapes punishment for referee reaction

Jurgen Klopp insisted he has 'no opinion' on whether Erling Haaland should be hit with retrospective punishment similar to that faced by Virgil van Dijk following his sending off at Newcastle.

Manchester City striker Haaland's furious (and meme-generating) reaction in the face of referee Simon Hooper during his side's 3-3 draw with Tottenham on Sunday has been the topic of much debate.

The Norway star was left angered when Hooper appeared to backtrack on a decision to play advantage when his pass led to Jack Grealish bearing down on goal.

Haaland later posted a clip of the stopped passage of play on social media with the caption 'Wtf', with many calling for the irate forward to face punishment.

Liverpool captain Van Dijk was given an extra game ban and fined £100,000 for his own reaction after being sent off in the win over Newcastle back in August, setting a precedent for such outbursts against officials.

While City have since been charged by the FA with a breach of Rule 20.1 after their players surrounded referee Hooper, Haaland appears to have escaped individual punishment – despite a supposed crackdown on player behaviour this season.

Asked for his thoughts on whether the Premier League's top scorer should face a similar fate as Van Dijk, Klopp opted to steer clear of the controversy.

"I don’t know," Klopp told reporters ahead of Wednesday's clash with Sheffield United. "In most of the years the thing Virgil said no one would have recognised. [He said] 'F****** joke' wasn’t it? I have no idea exactly what Haaland said, I didn’t follow it.

"It is like it is. To be honest I didn’t think for a second about it, when I heard about it, it wasn’t ‘oh we get it, they don’t.’ As long as you are not emotionally involved it is much easier to accept it, in the heat of the moment it is more difficult. They would have probably thought about it and I have no opinion on the outcome."

As a result of City dropping points for the third consecutive Premier League game, Liverpool jumped up to second in the table after the win over Fulham.

The Reds take on 20th-placed Sheffield United on Wednesday night, with Haaland and co travelling to high-flying Aston Villa.

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