In the latest Ref Watch, Dermot Gallagher looks back on a feisty Merseyside derby, with penalty calls and possible red cards dominating the agenda.
INCIDENT: Anthony Gordon, who had earlier been booked for diving by referee Stuart Attwell, appeared to be knocked to the ground by Liverpool defender Joel Matip as the two chased down a ball behind the home defence with the game goalless at Anfield.
Attwell waved away appeals for a spot-kick from with VAR also declining to intervene, a decision Carragher told Sky Sports denied Everton a clear penalty – but one which he added may have been influenced by the forward’s earlier perceived simulation.
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher on Anthony Gordon’s penalty shout…
“He’s got to be careful Anthony Gordon, he’s a local player and I know some of his friends and family. He’s a great player and lad, one of the best on the pitch today.
“He caused Liverpool massive problems, it’s not the first one in the first half, he’s just got to be careful of that.
“It’ll definitely be in referees’ heads and maybe he hasn’t got what he’s deserved because of a few incidents in three or four other games. But that said, it’s a stonewall penalty.”
Everton manager Frank Lampard also told Sky Sports: He said: “It was a penalty in the second half. I don’t think you get them here. I think if that is Mo Salah at the other end, he gets the penalty.
“I am not trying to create conflict there, I just think it is the reality of football sometimes. Maybe I have played for clubs sometimes at the top reaches of the league, with the crowd behind them, you get more than you don’t.
“The second one on Anthony is a foul. It is a clear foul. But you don’t get them here.”
DERMOT’S VERDICT: An on-field decision by the referee.
DERMOT SAYS: “I think it’s an on-field decision – the referee has to make this decision. There’s an arm on the shoulder, there’s no doubt about that, and he goes down. I think they get tangled up.
“The referee is really clever because he doesn’t make an instant decision. If you look at him, he knows it’s a big decision, and he almost runs it through, gives himself time and makes his decision.
“On that basis, it has to be his call, There’s no point throwing to VAR because you can’t say the referee has made a clear and obvious error because he has thought it through so much.
“I’d have gone with my gut reaction. I thought it was a penalty first, but when I saw it again, I wasn’t convinced. It was a little bit too theatrical, the way he [Gordon] went down. He went down too easily for me so if I had gone to the screen, I would’ve stuck with no penalty.
“They [the referees] have a threshold of ‘is there enough [contact] to give a penalty’. They didn’t think it covered the threshold. It has to be Stuart’s call, not anyone else.”
Sue Smith added: “It’s a penalty for me. Gordon gets across Matip, and I think Matip is clumsy. He makes contact with Gordon, who clearly goes down because of that contact. I would’ve liked Stuart Attwell to go to the monitor and have a look again. I’ve watched it numerous times and every time, I think it’s a penalty.
“When you’re running at pace, any sort of contact, and you’re going to go down.”
Stephen Warnock added: “If I was a defender, I’m worried. My initial reaction straight away was ‘that’s a penalty’. Then the more I watch it, I can see what Dermot’s saying. But I feel like there’s a shove in the back from Matip, which is enough to send Gordon down at the speed he’s moving at.
“It falls into that bracket of ‘I’m surprised it’s not given’, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been… But looking at it time and again, I feel like it should’ve been a penalty.”
INCIDENT: In one of the final incidents just before half-time, Sadio Mane looked to push Allan in the face and appeared to poke Mason Holgate in the face. However, he only saw a yellow card for the altercations.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Mane lucky to still be on the pitch.
DERMOT SAYS: “When you see the whole package, he is very lucky to still be on the pitch. Stuart and VAR are very unlucky because of the protocol. There’s so much going on and Stuart sees the first one [on Allan] and he [Mane] is yellow carded, he may even have been alerted by his assistant.
“So they have the first incident. The second incident you see later on with Holgate doesn’t get witnessed. VAR can only look at it if it’s a red card. VAR feels it’s a yellow card offence and he can’t recommend a yellow card offence to the referee.
“So even though he would have got a second yellow card, he can’t do that. Therefore, Mane escapes.”
INCIDENT: Late in the game, Everton striker Richarlison kicked out at Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson after a tussle. He was booked for the incident.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Richarlison also lucky to have not been sent off.
DERMOT SAYS: “Not a wise thing to do. We keep using the word lucky and he is. If you look, He’s actually connected to Henderson’s leg, but I think it’s interpreted as a push away more than a kick. It’s not as if he’s taken his leg back and fired the studs into his shin to knock him off.
“But why would you do that? It’s a Merseyside derby, there’s a couple of minutes to go and he could easily, on another day, be facing a three-match ban. That’s the season practically over, but why run the risk?”
Warnock added: “How important is Richarlison to Everton for the run-in? If he gets sent off there, a three-game ban, and you can imagine Frank Lampard thinking ‘what are you doing?’. Everton fans would be going ballistic.
“I couldn’t believe he did that… I know it’s a push, but it’s into the knee. It’s just petulant and stupid – I just didn’t get it at all.
INCIDENT: West Ham defender Craig Dawson gave away a penalty to Chelsea after pulling Romelu Lukaku to the floor inside the area. Dawson was initially shown a yellow card but after a VAR review, it was upgraded to a red card.
DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.
DERMOT SAYS: “It’s a penalty, there’s no doubt about that because he pulls Lukaku back. My instant reaction was a yellow card because the goalkeeper mopped it up.
“The referee has one look and he sees the pull back and the ball go through to the goalkeeper because when he’s pulled back, Lukaku actually stops… Because the ball runs through to the goalkeeper so quickly, I thought he would pick up.
“But Lukaku has the ball at his feet, so the VAR looked at that and he recommended that Michael [Oliver] does to the screen and he’s seen what we’ve seen there.
“I think it was a really good process because to the naked eye, I fully understand why the referee gave a yellow card. It’s very difficult to say he made a genuine effort to play the ball when there’s an upper body challenge.”