Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cheekily referenced Rafa Benitez as he replied to Jurgen Klopp’s claim that Manchester United have received more penalties than Liverpool.
On Monday night, following their 1-0 loss to Southampton, Klopp said he was making no excuses but felt that United would have been given two penalties he felt his side should have got, saying, “I hear now that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years. I’ve no idea if that’s my fault, or how that can happen.”
The loss means the two north west rivals are level on points ahead of their meeting on January 17th, with Solskjaer’s side having a game in hand.
Before that match United face Manchester City on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup semi-final and, in his pre match press conference, the United boss referenced former Liverpool boss Benitez’s infamous ‘fact’ speech as he hit back when asked about his side winning more penalties.
“That’s a fact, probably. That is probably going to be my answer. That’s a fact that we have got more than him.
“I don’t know how many penalties they’ve had. I don’t count how many penalties they have, so if they want to spend time on worrying about when we get fouled in the box, I don’t spend time on that.”
Solskjaer’s side have been awarded six penalties to the defending champion’s five in the Premier League so far this season but the difference since the Norwegian took over from Jose Mourinho is much larger.
Since December 2018, a referee has pointed to the spot for the Red Devils on 42 occasions in every competition, whilst the side down the M62 have been given just 19 in the same time.
The former Champions League winning striker went on to compare Klopp’s statement to a similar one made by Chelsea boss Frank Lampard last season.
Solskjaer revealed he felt Lampard’s comments had caused his side to fail to get a penalty in the FA Cup semi-final clash between the two teams, though they were awarded one for a later incident.
“I can’t talk on behalf of other managers, why they say things like this,” the 47-year-old added in reply to Klopp’s comments.
“Obviously I felt it worked last year in the FA Cup semi because Frank spoke about it. We had a nailed-on penalty that we should have had and didn’t get, so maybe it’s a way of influencing referees.
“I don’t know but I don’t worry about that. When they foul our players it’s a penalty. It’s just when it’s inside the box.”
"I think it's more of a case of Mane kicking the back of his heel, or his calf, so no I don't think that was a penalty." 🚫— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 4, 2021
Should #LFC have had a penalty at St. Mary's?
Even @carra23 isn't convinced… pic.twitter.com/WOf4MJHCoL