Klopp's mood sours further as Liverpool drops points late

Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips, left, and Brighton's Danny Welbeck vie for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool. (Kirsty Wiglesworth, Pool, AP)

Already angered by fixture timings in a congested schedule and hindered by a long injury list in his squad, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was given another reason to be unhappy following the latest contentious incident involving VAR in the English Premier League.

The champions dropped two points after conceding a goal from a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time in a 1-1 tie at Brighton on Saturday.

The spot kick was awarded following an intervention by the video assistant referee, who previously ruled out two Liverpool goals at Amex Stadium for offside -- one of which couldn't have been tighter against Mohamed Salah.

``You cannot imagine how many things are hard to take (at) the moment,'' said Klopp, whose list of gripes is getting longer by the day.

Liverpool's coach made clear his frustration by sarcastically applauding the assistant referee after Pascal Gross converted Brighton's equalizer. He spoke to the match officials as they walked off the field after the final whistle. Klopp wasn't finished there, continuing his complaints post-match about a schedule that has seen Liverpool forced to play Wednesday night in the Champions League and then Saturday in the Premier League.

``The only thing we have to do is deal with it, recover, prepare again and go,'' he said.

Indeed, for a team that is back atop the league as it looks to retain the title, Liverpool is an unhappy bunch.

Salah, who recently returned to action after contracting the coronavirus, was substituted around the hour mark -- just like he was on Wednesday in the 2-0 loss to Atalanta in the Champions League -- and didn't hide his unhappiness.

Klopp made it clear he was trying to protect his star attacker, who set up Liverpool's goal scored by Diogo Jota.

``We have to be careful (with Salah),'' Klopp said. ``He doesn't like that, but that's it.''

Already missing Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Thiago Alcantara because of injury, Liverpool has another issue to contend with after the versatile James Milner hobbled off with a hamstring problem.

Likely adding to Liverpool's frustration was the sight of arguably its biggest threat to the title, Manchester City, regaining its scoring touch a few hours later to close the gap to the champions.

Riyad Mahrez scored three goals as City beat Burnley 5-0 for the fourth straight time at home in all competitions. Benjamin Mendy and Ferran Torres with his first Premier League goal, had the others.

There had been concerns about the team's once-prolific attack, with City scoring just 10 goals in its first eight games. They might have been eased with the way Guardiola's team swept aside Burnley, and with its next three home games being against relegation contenders Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle.

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