Jamie Carragher has had a major dig at Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka after the club drew 1-1 with Wolves on Monday night.
Willy Boly scored a last-gasp header in injury-time to earn Wolves a point, with controversy surrounding the referee’s decision to award the goal.
Boly jumped with Dubravka and appeared to have his hands on the goalkeeper as he headed into the back of the net.
Newcastle appealed for a free-kick but the official decided against blowing in favour of the Magpies.
And Carragher felt that the decision was correct, instead choosing to hit out at Dubravka’s decision-making.
Asked on Sky Sports if it was a foul, he said, per Chronicle Live: “No it wasn’t. You have to give great credit to Wolves.
“But the goalkeeper – and I think he’s been a great goalkeeper for Newcastle – he’s made a few mistakes of late.
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“Willy Boly shows great desire to get there. He jumps earlier than the goalkeeper, his hands are resting on the goalkeeper but he has to do better. It is a contact sport. There can be contact. His hands go up to give him leverage and I don’t think it’s a foul.
“It looks worse when you really slow it down but I think the goalkeeper has to do more. If you run it at quick speed – it’s a little touch on him.
“And that isn’t the first time in the last few weeks he’s cost them.
“When Rafa signed Pepe Reina he signed him because he liked him punching. He didn’t like his goalkeepers trying to catch the ball and leaving themselves open to a striker coming in. If you look at it when it’s stopped you’d say it’s assault but it’s not.”
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez chose to blame his goalkeeper, too, instead of calling for a foul, telling Sky Sports: “These kinds of balls you can do a little bit better – just punch the ball and finish.”
Carragher was taken aback by Benitez’s honesty, but has praised the Spaniard’s take.
He added: “I was surprised. It’s difficult for a manager to speak after the match but he’s basically said the goalkeeper’s made a mistake.
“There was probably enough in the challenge that Rafa could have come on and said ‘It was a foul’ and not everyone would have said you’re talking rubbish.
“Fair play to Rafa Benitez for being so honest and maybe looking at his goalkeeper who should have done better and no doubt, he should have done better.”
Carragher is correct in his assertion that Dubravka should have done better, and his harsh words and mention of Pepe Reina at Liverpool previously suggest that Benitez needs to have a word with his stopper about his goalkeeping practices.
The cross was difficult to deal with, it was swirling in the air, but his attempt to catch the ball opened the door to a mistake.
Benitez claims the Slovakia international should have punched the ball and that is an effective way of dealing with such a delivery – if the goalkeeper executes it correctly, it can relieve pressure on the defence and ensure there are no nasty surprises.
Instead, the goalkeeper missed his catch and was punished by costing his side two points.
The Magpies did not slip into the relegation zone as a result but they are just one point clear of it – they can ill-afford any more such errors.
Next time, Dubravka should swallow his pride, and punch the ball.