Jurgen Klopp slammed referee Felix Brych after Liverpool's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, suggesting the German official had "something personal" against Reds star Sadio Mane.
Klopp was livid after Brych failed to award a foul when the Senegalese forward tangled with Real defender Lucas Vazquez, shortly before the Spaniards' second goal in their 3-1 victory.
And while the Liverpool boss admitted that the officials were not the reason for his side's loss, he used his post-match press conference to reveal what he had said to the referee at the final whistle in the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
The Reds boss told reporters: “The situation with Sadio, I have to say what the referee did tonight I don’t understand. For me that was something personal, because he dealt with the situation with Sadio, which is a clear foul, like it was a dive or something.
"And from that moment whenever Sadio went down, he couldn’t get anything anymore. That’s just not right.
“That’s what I told him after the game, that I just thought he was unfair with Sadio, and that’s how it is.
“It doesn’t change anything at all. He didn’t lose the game, we were not good enough, but in these moments you need just an OK ref. That would have been enough.”
Liverpool were left to rue a dreadful first-half performance in Madrid, in which they conceded cheap goals to Vinicus Junior and Marco Asensio.
Mohamed Salah pulled one back after the break, a priceless away goal for the Reds, but their task was made harder when goalkeeper Alisson Becker fumbled Vinicius' shot into the net on 65 minutes.
Assessing the game, Klopp said: “First and foremost, we didn’t deserve to win tonight, to be honest. We didn’t play good enough for that. That’s my first concern. Especially in the first half, we didn’t play good enough football.
“We conceded the first goal, then served the second goal on a plate. But that was not the real problem of the game. We did better in the second half, played better football, tried to create against a really passionate and deep-defending Real Madrid side, with the counter-attacking threat they have.
“We scored a goal, which is obviously the positive of the night. Did we deserve more than the 3-1? I’m not sure to be honest.”
The return fixture will take place at Anfield next Wednesday, with Liverpool seeking to do what they did to Barcelona in the semi-finals back in 2019; overturn a first-leg deficit on home soil.
They will have to do so without the backing of their supporters on this occasion, though, with the game to be played behind closed doors.