Jurgen Klopp was adamant striker Sadio Mane should have been awarded a clear penalty by referee Andre Marriner after his Liverpool side fell to a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton.
Danny Ings put a dent in his former club's title aspirations when he lobbed goalkeeper Alisson to give Saints the lead with less than two minutes on the clock.
Mane looked the most likely to pull one back for the visitors and he went down in the area just before the hour mark — under the challenge of Kyle Walker-Peters — but Marriner waved play on and VAR did not take a second look at the incident, which the Reds boss believes was a penalty.
Klopp said: “I turned around, we had a really good view of it. It looked like a clear penalty. I turned to the fourth official, he said ‘we checked already, no penalty’. That’s the 100 per cent truth. They checked it already.
“We had the situation last year against Leicester with the penalty, and people say ‘Sadio Mane goes down too easily’.
“If this boy went down easy, we could have had a penalty in this game and a stonewall penalty in the last game. But what Andre Marriner did with Sadio Mane tonight, I’m not sure that’s OK, to be honest.”
Klopp added: “We cannot change. I hear now that Man 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.
“But it’s no excuse for the performance. We cannot change it, we have to respect the decisions. But we can change our performance. That’s our focus now.”
Klopp described Liverpool’s current form as “a rather rusty moment” that the champions must overcome. “We just have to fight through this and play through this.”
Leaders Liverpool have struggled for form since their 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on December 19th with draws at home to West Brom and at Newcastle falling before this defeat in Hampshire, while for Southampton, it was their first win since December 13th.
The win was also the first time under Ralph Hasenhuttl they had taken points off Liverpool, having lost their previous six meetings between the two times, and it clearly meant a lot to the Saints boss who appeared to be in tears shortly after the final whistle.
Hasenhuttl, who appeared to be in tears at the final whistle, said: “It’s the first time I took points against Jurgen, and he’s an amazing manager and (it’s) a fantastic team and we had our problems with injuries now — to do such a job today, I cannot be more proud of the work the guys put in.
“It’s a special one for sure. It’s a perfect evening.
“We always speak about the limits we have as a club but we work with these limits and it’s even more enjoyable then when you take big wins like this today because it gives you the belief in all that you’re doing.”