7 Mar 2016

Anfield Smackdown: Lawro contradicts Klopp over Palace 'pressing' claim; dismisses 'Klopp Effect' as pure 'luck'

According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds' 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace is an example of so-called 'Klopp Effect in all it's glory', but Reds legend Mark Lawrenson doesn't agree, and he's poured scorn on the idea that Liverpool beat Palace as a result of Klopp's alleged 'genius'.

Analysing the game for the BBC, Lawro claimed that Liverpool got 'lucky' against Palace, and argued that team put in an 'ordinary' performance for much of the game. He explained:

"Klopp said [Liverpool] helped to force McCarthy's mistake because they were pressing high, but I didn't see that. It [the result] looks good but, if McCarthy hadn't slipped to gift an equaliser, I did not see Liverpool scoring at all".

I totally agree with this. Liverpool didn't really 'win' the game in the traditional sense; the three points were snatched away as a result of pure luck, and cynical gamesmanship.

It took the Reds 65 minutes to get a shot on target, and the first goal came as a result of a catastrophic (but extremely lucky) goalkeeping mistake.

Then, in injury time, Christian Benteke - who is, incidentally, 6'4 - crashed to earth like a decommissioned satellite after the slightest contact from Palace defender Damien Delaney. Was there enough contact to send Benteke sprawling in such a theatrical manner? No chance.

* For me, the problem is Benteke's reaction: he went down screaming as if he'd been badly hurt, but the contact clearly wasn't strong enough to elicit such a reaction. As such, why did Benteke scream out in apparent pain when he went down?

* This is the smoking gun as it arguably shows Benteke's mindset. He probably (subconsciously) knew that just falling over wouldn't sell the foul, so he embellished the incident with play-acting to make it appear much more serious.

* As an additional note: The referee was closer than the linesman, yet he didn't give the penalty. How is it possible for a linesman to have a better of the incident when he's *much further away* than the ref?!

When asked about the incident after the game, Benteke told reporters:

"I think he [Delaney] touched me, which is why I went down. I think there referee knows more than us".

'I think'? - This is hardly an emphatic response. Either there was contact, or there wasn't, and surely Benteke is best placed to know for sure.

Even if there was slight contact, Benteke could've stayed on his feet, but he (arguably) decided to con the referee instead. The mere act of being touched in the box should not give a striker the license to just hit the deck.

It's still a form of cheating, and any fan who doesn't have their head in the sand knows that players do this all the time. Some even deliberately kick a defender's leg to make it look like they've been tripped in the box. It makes me sick.

What makes it worse is how fans are so willing to turn a blind eye as long as it helps the team. In this case, Liverpool fans are - as usual - advancing every lame excuse under the sun to justify the penalty, but we all know that if the Reds were on the receiving end of that decision (in the 94th minute of a game!), there'd be blood on the streets.

Liverpool played well with ten men, and the players deserve credit for that, but I can't take pleasure in any victory attained in such a cynical, unfair manner. Football shouldn't be about 'winning at all costs'; it should be about winning fairly, and that's an ideal that fans should respect and champion.

And mark my words: Karma will ensure that the Reds suffer for this at some point in the future, and when that happens, the same fans justifying and condoning Benteke's obvious gamesmanship will cry foul over the injustice of it all.

Author: Jaimie K


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