Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park during their Merseyside derby encounter this weekend against Everton courtesy of yet another refereeing howler, a common feature going against them so far this term, but the constant harping on about the team’s injustice from manager Brendan Rodgers is really starting to grate and needs to turn his attentions back to the areas where he can have an effect this season.
Both sides came away from the game yesterday with various grievances about the result, but on reflection a draw seemed about the right result. David Moyes argued that Luis Suarez should have been sent off for his stamp on Sylvain Distin, while referee Andre Marriner dished out a series of baffling yellow cards which stopped the game from flowing in a largely forgettable second half.
However, the main talking point to take away from the game was the incorrectly disallowed goal in the final minute for the visitors, with Luis Suarez adjudged to have been in an offside position when he poked the ball in the back of the net. While the original free-kick may have been a tad on the soft side and an argument could be made that Sebastian Coates fouled Phil Jagielka by nodding the ball across goal, that doesn’t make the decision any more acceptable and once again it’s simply a case of a linesman guessing that he’s got it right.
Rodgers stated in the post-match press conference: “Instead of being a well-deserved and brilliant win for us, we are left feeling frustrated. I was bitterly disappointed at not getting the winner. It was a brilliant game and I thought we stood up well. I am so disappointed it didn’t count because it was an easy decision. I am not going to keep going on about officials because it has been happening to us all season. But that one at the end was quite straightforward. It was a free-kick from deep and the ball was in the air for a long time and you could clearly see he was onside. When he put it in he was marginally level.”
Now managers moaning about decisions going against them is as old as time, often used as a tactic to distract any closer inspection about their own team’s deficiencies. Nevertheless, ranging from the opening day stinker against West Brom, the hugely contentious red card dished out to Jonjo Shelvey and the penalty that Glen Johnson conceded, plus Luis Suarez failing to receive a penalty away at Norwich after being practically rugby tackled by Leon Barnett, it’s clear that things have not gone the club’s way and it’s costing them crucial points.
This has led to Rodgers writing to refereeing chief Mike Riley in an attempt to seek an explanation for the decisions that have gone against his side, but after stating that he was hoping for “better decisions over the coming weeks” after the Manchester United clash, he implies that there’s some sort of inherent agenda against Liverpool.
Of course, that isn’t true, though. We may like to comfort ourselves with the thought that certain referees favour particular clubs but in the end a poor decision is just a poor decision and we shouldn’t confused incompetence with bias, as that’s a very dangerous road to go down.
At the end of the day, officials are only human and they leave themselves open to critique because of the way that they seemingly allow themselves to be swept away like the rest of us with pre-conceived notions and reputations. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the only thing stopping Suarez for winning a penalty this season is his reputation as a diver.
There have been legitimate cases where Suarez should have won a penalty, but at the same time, he doesn’t help himself or his team with his obvious swan lake impressions in other games and if he continues to create that doubt in referees minds, then they will continue to err on the side of caution in not awarding them.
Liverpool don’t have as many points on the board so far this season that their performances merit and in Rodgers they have a forward-thinking coach who adapted his side well to suit the aerial demands of the game against Everton, which bodes well for the future. The foundations of an exciting side are there for all to see, but if he continues to get bogged down in what might have been, he may lose sight of what they could become, which would be more unfortunate than any howler that may have gone against them this season.
You can follow me on Twitter @JamesMcManus1
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