Klopp hits out at Holgate for push on Firmino

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Liverpool defeated Everton 2-1 in the Merseyside derby, but the Reds boss was not happy with how his forward was manhandled by his opponent

Jurgen Klopp has criticised Mason Holgate for pushing Roberto Firmino during Friday's tempestuous 2-1 Merseyside derby victory over Everton, in which debutant Virgil van Dijk scored the winner.

Firmino and Holgate had to be separated by the referee following the incident, with the duo involved in a heated exchange where the Everton defender alleged he was abused by the Brazilian.

Klopp initially did not comment on the allegations, but hit out at Holgate over sparking the incident with dangerous play that saw Firmino end up going over the pitchside barrier into the crowd.

"It was not necessary for Mason Holgate to give Firmino that push," Klopp told BBC Sport. "It was really dangerous and usually players don't do that. We cannot change that."

The hosts took the lead at Anfield after Mason Holgate was adjudged to have fouled Adam Lallana, with James Milner converting the consequent spot-kick 10 minutes before half-time.

Reds boss Klopp raged against a similarly questionable call in last month's 1-1 Premier League draw against the Toffees, when Dominic Calvert-Lewin went down under pressure from Dejan Lovren, and he felt the two incidents were comparable.

"It was a similar situation, the first one [in December's match] was no penalty in my opinion and this one wasn't also," he said. "It's the same.

"There is contact and the referee used his whistle. Exactly the same situation."

It fell to £75 million signing Van Dijk, the world's most expensive defender, to settle it six minutes from time after Gylfi Sigurdsson had equalised and Klopp was happy just to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

"It was for sure not the best piece of football for 95 minutes, but a proper fight," said the German. "I'm delighted with the attitude we showed again, it was a difficult game.

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"It was not the night for brilliant football, to play through. You would love to see that but Everton defended well. They played football, a big difference to the last game between us to be honest.

"The equaliser was the worst protection I ever saw in my life. It made no sense at all. We were all in the wrong direction. But when you make mistakes in football you have to react and we did again.

"It was nice that Virgil van Dijk could score in his first game, a brilliant header. I am really happy."

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