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Mauricio Pochettino: I hope referees do not get caught up in emotion of Jurgen Klopp's farewell

Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool with Mauricio Pochettino manager of Chelsea before the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on January 31, 2024 in Liverpool, England
Klopp and Pochettino face off at Wembley on Sunday - Getty Images/Andrew Powell

Mauricio Pochettino has urged referee Chris Kavanagh and his officials not to get carried away with the emotion of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s long goodbye and to be “fair” with his Chelsea team.

Chelsea face Liverpool in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, which could represent Klopp’s last Wembley appearance as manager before he leaves the club at the end of the season.

Pochettino’s Chelsea were Liverpool’s first Premier League opponents at Anfield after Klopp announced his departure. The London side were thrashed 4-1, but Pochettino is still annoyed by the officiating after his team were denied two penalties.

Asked if there is extra pressure on Klopp and Liverpool to deliver a trophy before he leaves, Chelsea head coach Pochettino replied: “Good question. It is not pressure for him. No. Maybe it is for the people who want to celebrate with Liverpool.

“I think we need to be sure we are going to compete and be fair in every single decision. When we played against Liverpool at Anfield, I think too many decisions … not one key decision was for us. Two penalties were not given. Duels, 50-50s, always for another colour. Always red. I want to be treated in a fair way.

“Of course, we are going to celebrate. I am the first who is going to say that Liverpool is amazing and Klopp is one of the best coaches in the world. But I think after my last experience playing there, what I want in Wembley is to go there and not feel the pressure. It is to play a game at the same level and the best team will win. But not to feel the pressure of people around.”

Chris Kavanagh will take charge of Sunday's Carabao Cup final
Chris Kavanagh will take charge of Sunday's Carabao Cup final - Reuters/Tony O'Brien

Pochettino added: “They were better than us [at Anfield], of course. But the first decision after five minutes was a clear penalty. In the second half it was a penalty, [Christopher] Nkunku. We are Chelsea and we need to compete with the same tools. If they are better well done and we congratulate them, but be fair in every single decision. The pressure is about not delivering the job for Klopp, no, the pressure is not to be part of the … you know?”

At that point the Chelsea media officer interjected with the word “hype.”

Pochettino also denied that spoiling Liverpool’s party for Klopp will act as any extra motivation and added: “No, no, We want to win because of Chelsea. But of course Liverpool want to win. But please, not another party involved in the game will be part of the celebration that Klopp is leaving, no? That is important.”

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