On Sunday evening Tottenham drew with league rivals, Liverpool. With both clubs vying for a top-four place it was an intense match up. The game finished 2-2. During the game, Tottenham received two controversial penalty calls. The assistant referee made brave decisions. Both of these calls proved to be correct decisions.
Liverpool fans naturally felt aggrieved and have thrown a ‘hissy fit’ and continue to argue against the calls; this is understandable. What is not understandable is the media and former referees coming out and attacking the calls. What is supposed to be accomplished by this? Ensure referees only make ‘safe calls’ and avoid making brave decisions?
Why are brave decisions being punished?
Match of the Day
The most bizarre event in this situation has been the Match of the Day analysis of the game. Mark Lawrenson and Jermain Jenas both had the relevant segment of the offside rule read out to them. They simply ignored it and continued their protests. The law states that because a Liverpool player touched the ball last then Kane is adjudged to be onside. What do they propose the linesman does in this situation? Ignore the call because it’s inconvenient for pundits? By this logic, Salah’s first goal which was played through by Eric Dier should not have stood as he was standing in an offside position when Dier touched it last. Naturally, no Liverpool fans or former players have spoken out about this.
Second Penalty Call
The second penalty call took an unbelievable amount of bravery from the linesman. When the ball fell to Lamela in the box, Virgil van Dijk attempted to volley the Argentine straight into the upper tiers of the Kop. At first glance, it looked a dive. Replays appeared to support this view but the reverse angle demonstrated the extent of the foul. For a linesman to make that call in the 94th minute at Anfield is unheard of and should be applauded, not lambasted. Despite this decision being clear-cut Liverpool fans found another angle to attack and have decided that Lamela was offside in the initial passage of play. If we’re going to get into the nitty gritty then Lamela was being held during this and could not move so that should also have resulted in a penalty.
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher explained why both decisions were correct calls. Instead of people accepting this the media went out and found the first idiot desperate for his five minutes of fame and he came in the form of former referee Mark Clattenburg. The notorious attention seeker, who recently stated he deliberately made wrong calls in order to avoid blame, misses the limelight and is seeking it via attention from angry Liverpool fans desperate for affirmation. The fact this man will throw a colleague under the bus like this sums him up as a man and is a prime reason why the British media should ignore him while he makes his fortune in the Middle East.
Eddie Smart, the linesman, should be applauded, not attacked for his brave decisions. The media cannot simultaneously bemoan the lack of bravery among referees then attack it when they make correct calls. If Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk, as well as the Liverpool fan base, wish to live in denial then that is their choice. They should not be enabled however and referees should not be forced to regret brilliant decisions. Klopp was very vocal in his anger at the decision. He also spent time running up the touchline following Salah’s second goal which should have spent organizing his side. If Klopp wants someone to blame for his side’s capitulation then he should focus on himself and his constant need for attention.