West Ham’s Michail Antonio couldn’t believe some of the refereeing on show during Liverpool vs Manchester City on Sunday.
Referee Anthony Taylor’s performance has come under the spotlight after some rather lenient decision-making. And speaking on The Footballer’s Football Podcast, Antonio blasted some of the officiating as being ’embarrassing.’
“Liverpool’s game yesterday, it was a great game but it was a wrestling match. I’ve never seen, I’ve not seen a football game played that way in at least 20 years,” said the 32-year-old. “The fouls that were going on and the way the referee was just waving it on. I couldn’t believe it.
“The foul on Salah by Bernardo Silva. And then the thing is Klopp gets sent off for that! That needs to be rescinded because it’s embarrassing. You can’t have your player basically get dragged down in a headlock!”
“Klopp losing his mind because it’s right in front of the Lino’s face and then they send him off. If you’re doing your job right, he doesn’t react that way and he doesn’t get sent off. This is a massive game! You can’t mess it up like that, it’s embarrassing.”
Antonio stands up for Klopp
It’s great to hear a current footballer come out with such a strong statement in favour of the Liverpool manager.
Klopp’s behaviour has been something of a talking point in this week’s Premier League press conferences. Not every head coach has been as supportive as Antonio has been here.
And as a player who’s still actively playing in the league, the West Ham man’s voice does carry some weight.
The foul from Bernardo on Salah was truly a low point of a game that had far too many. As Antonio points out, that wasn’t from a footballing point of view, though. The game was enjoyable and largely of a high quality.
But when the officials choose to let so many fouls go, they are simply asking for trouble.
The other major controversial moment was of course Phil Foden’s disallowed goal in the second half. Had Taylor been refereeing as normal though, the ball would never have been allowed to get as far as it did.
There was a clear shirt pull from Erling Haaland on Fabinho. It really was one of the most obvious fouls you’ll see all season. But because Taylor was refereeing in a certain way, it led to a massive talking point.
We all want to see free-flowing football and there’s nothing worse than a bitty game influenced by an over-controlling ref. But a foul is a still a foul, is still a foul. Well said, Michail.
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