Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp fumes at Burnley challenges: 'If you like that sort of thing, watch wrestling'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was furious at Burnley's treatment of his players during their 2-0 win on Saturday and said: "It's like we're going 10 to 15 years backwards."

Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane scored as Liverpool started the Premier League season with back-to-back wins but Klopp was unhappy about the number of challenges from the Burnley players.

- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
- Don't have ESPN? Get instant access
- Ratings: 9/10 Henderson helps Liverpool ease past Burnley
- How VAR decisions have affected every Premier League club in 2021-22

A revamp in the rules has seen Premier League officials be more lenient with tackles compared to last season but Klopp believes the game is not heading in the right direction.

"We always had to be ready for a proper fight and we were," Klopp told BT Sport after the game. "You saw these challenges with [Ashley] Barnes and [Chris] Wood and Virgil [van Dijk] and Joel [Matip].

"I'm not 100% sure if [officials] are going in the right direction with these decisions. It's like we're going 10 to 15 years backwards. The rules are like they are, but you cannot defend these situations. That's how it makes the game really tricky.

"The message now is let the game flow, but nobody exactly knows what that means.

"I like decisions that favour the offensive team, that's fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players. We cannot deny that. If you like that sort of thing, watch wrestling."

Referee Mike Dean didn't brandish a yellow card throughout the game despite Burnley racking up 12 fouls.

Speaking in his postmatch news conference, Klopp added: "I am not the Pope of football or whatever or any kind of priest who wants to tell the people what to do, really not.

"When we started to talk about the elbow in the challenge, challenges in the air, we heard the whistle. It happened then that players started feeling something in the face even when nothing touched them because it helped always to do this... now there is a message, like a headline, 'let the game flow.'

"It started with the penalties, 'no soft penalties anymore,' which is absolutely fine. But we cannot forget that we have to protect the players as well and the challenges in the air. I don't say they are all fouls, for sure not, most of the time it is a clear challenge but if you do these kind of things constantly.

"There are different ways to play football, obviously, that's all fine, there were just a few harsh situations. We are early in the season and I don't want to open already the box of Pandora, I just think we have to speak about these kind of things because the intensity of the season didn't even start."