MANAGER Sean Dyche has defended his players following criticism from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp about Burnley's tackling.

Reds defender Joe Gomez suffered an ankle injury in a sliding challenge by Ben Mee midway through the first half at Turf Moor last night, which led to Klopp calling for more protection from the officials.

However, it proved to be a confusing argument, with Klopp suggesting it was a fair challenge but should not have been allowed on a wet surface.

"We won the game but the challenges from the beginning, the sliding tackling on that wet ground, I really think the referee should have said something earlier," the Liverpool boss said.

"The injury threat is massive. That was hard.

"You get the ball, nice, but it's like bowling because you get the player as well. It happened four or five times.

"The first three or four challenges everybody likes it. I know that. It's part of football but it lead to the situation. OK, no foul but Joe Gomez is injured."

But Dyche countered: "I was a little confused. I couldn’t make out what part of that was right and wrong.

"What I would say is this, and I think it’s important to register: there were some excellent tackles last night. I think the only one that was questionable was Bardo’s (Phil Bardsley's on Alberto Moreno).

"I think Ben Mee’s (on Gomez) was a fantastic tackle. I imagine a player who seems to be an honest player, in Gomez, realised that. That was the message we got after.

"We send him our best if any injury has occurred but it wasn’t from a bad tackle.

"He didn’t reference Daniel Sturridge’s cheating when he went down, nothing near him, and he got a free-kick for it."

Dyche went on to reveal he was a boyhood Liverpool fan and admired their physicality as well as their flair as a youngster, and stressed it would be a blow if those qualities have been traded in for "cheating".

"The point of bringing it up is this: I watched Liverpool as a kid, I was a Liverpool fan growing up in the 70s, and when I grew up watching them, they had a fantastic side, of skill, will demand and a physical edge, now if that’s gone – or if suggestibility is saying you’re not allowed to make the tackles our lads made last night – and been replaced by cheating, I’m absolutely happy to be old fashioned," said the Burnley boss.

"There’s no way I’d want to not see good proper professionals challenging in the manner that ours did last night, and replace it with cheating.

"There is too much cheating in the Premier League. I’ve said it time and time again.

"I can’t believe Jurgen Klopp or Liverpool fans would want cheating in the game, and sacrifice the good, honest challenges that were there last night – and I don’t believe they do.

"I have to make clear that we’re not talking about gamesmanship. Gamesmanship is clever play. It’s been there forever. I don’t mind that at all. I’m talking about blatant diving, as one of their players did last night, with no contact and got a free-kick. That can’t be right at any level. I would rather see physical football than cheating football. Definitely. I’d be amazed if there are fans out there who don’t agree."

He added: "I don’t believe that’s the way football wants to be. Our lads went about their business terrifically last night and everyone else apart from the manager seemed to agree.

"The media said we went about it the right way, tried to take on the game, tried to win a football match. I didn’t see anything in it other than players trying to win a football match, and showing the will, courage and demand to try to win a football match against one of the top sides in the country."