By Keith Hackett

24th Aug, 2021 | 9:30am

Hackett 'bemused' as Klopp and Solskjaer agree on Liverpool/Manchester United ref controversy

Keith Hackett has admitted he was left “bemused” as both Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer criticised referees this weekend.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-head of the PGMOL insisted the pair should not have vented their frustrations through the media.

As quoted by the Mirror on 21 August, Klopp suggested after his side’s 2-0 win over Burnley that football was turning into wrestling.

Meanwhile, Solksjaer told Sky Sports yesterday (22 August) that refereeing has “gone from one extreme to another” with the new style of refereeing.

“The difficulty that referees are facing at the moment is, where is the line drawn in relation to a lighter touch?” Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.

“Clearly, the managers have met Mike Riley, the PGMOL boss, prior to the season starting and had the opportunity to say something there. We have to recognise after the Euros it is the clubs and the Premier League that want the PGMOL to deliver a lighter touch.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“When I look at Klopp’s comments and Solskjaer’s comments, I’m bemused. The reason is, grappling is a problem in the penalty area. That has been going on for a number of years. Last year and the season before why didn’t these guys start moaning about the grappling in the Premier League?

“They’ve had the opportunities to make these comments. There is an avenue where they can make them, 30 minutes after the match they can both talk to the referee about their concerns. If they’ve got further concerns they can go to Mike Riley.

“In the case of Riley, what he has to do is over the coming weeks get all the managers in after he’s had a discussion with the referees. A dialogue will find the bar should be, throwing stones with comments from Klopp and Solksjaer don’t help the process.

“The fans have bought into this lighter touch because they’re getting more dynamic games, less interference from the referees. I’m seeing improved standards.

“They’ve got an avenue to vent their concerns, it doesn’t have to be in the media.”

In other news, Klopp has taken a “sideswipe” at FSG that flew under the radar at Liverpool.