Liverpool drew 1-1 with Napoli on Wednesday night. Liverpool were poor in possession and looked leggy. The contest was marred by one of the worst refereeing displays at Anfield in recent times. Whilst there was no smoking gun decision where a player punched the ball without reprieve, the ref’s staggering lack of consistency was a painful watch. We round up three horrendous refereeing errors from Liverpool v Napoli.
The Napoli goal
One of the plagues of refereeing these days is an inability to take the individuals involved out of the equation. For instance, when considering whether or not somebody is through on goal: if Mo Salah started level with Richard Dunne for example – the ref is not allowed to consider the difference in pace.
In the build up for the Napoli goal Virgil van Dijk jumped for a header and was injured when Dries Mertens barged into his side. The Belgian put the defender off sufficiently enough for his header to be inaccurate, falling to an opposition player. The ball was played through and, with Virgil injured, Napoli scored. Mertens made no attempt to play the ball, size mismatch or not – it was a foul.
Penalties not given
In the first half there were claims for a penalty when Sadio Mane was pulled down in the box. It would have been very, very soft. However, just minutes earlier, the referee had given a foul against Mane for a similarly soft pull on the shoulder. One rule in the box, one rule out. A staggering lack of consistency.
In the second half, Mo Salah was wrestled by Kalidou Koulibaly. If the Egyptian had gone down then a pen would have been given no questions asked. He stayed on his feet and the referee didn’t have the guts to give it. There could have been no complaints.
In injury time Andy Robertson barged into a Napoli defender, the visitor theatrically lept on top of the advertising board to make the most out of the contact.
Napoli players charged up, surrounded Robbo and the referee. Pushed and shouted, argued and lamented – all for show. They must have wasted at the very least a minute. Did the referee add this on? Of course not. Despite a number of stoppages after the board went up, we played just 20 seconds extra. The ref had no bottle, no control and no consistency.