Great Result All Things Considered

Great Result All Things Considered

As we now know, yesterday’s game ended up a 2-2 draw. And as the heading of the post says, a great result all things considered. And there were plenty of things to take into consideration. To take a point at one of the so called top six clubs shouldn’t be sniffed at normally. Always a tough venue to go to at the best of times, but yesterday’s point was so much more credible given the issues both before and during the match. Let’s have a closer look. In taking this closer look, there will be a mention and links provided of previous posts of a particular bug bear topic of mine. But let’s tackle the ‘easier’ bits first.

Great Result All Things Considered

Great Result All Things Considered
Great Result All Things Considered

Having already lost Virgil Van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones to Covid last week, the early team news yesterday provided us with even more casualties. Thiago Alcantara is a suspected new Covid case. Wasn’t he tested positive last season as well? Jordan Henderson wasn’t a Covid victim, but pulled out through illness. Add Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott to that list and we had quite a few missing.

And, of course, we had a couple coming in back from injury (Keita and Milner), so they could be forgiven for being a bit rusty.

Spurs on the other hand hadn’t played for two weeks, so in effect, they’ve had their very own mini, mid-season break. A full squad and fresh legs. Tough opponents indeed under any circumstances, but potentially even more so yesterday. And that is one of the reasons our draw was such a huge point. To repeat again, a great result all things considered.

The whole of our main midfield three missing saw an opportunity for Tyler Morton to make his Premier League debut. And he acquitted himself very well. Ibrahima Konate at the back showed yet again what a fine, long term centre back he will be for Liverpool. Another quality goal from Diogo Jota and a collectors item from Andy Robertson ensured we more than stayed in contention.

But now on to the, not so easy to understand or explain (or are they?) aspects of the game yesterday.

Shocking Performances From The Officials

Without a doubt the performance by the officials was appalling to say the least. At best, it can be described as totally incompetent or totally inept. At worst? Make up your own mind. Paul Tierney (on the pitch) and Chris Kavanagh (VAR) were the two who were totally hopeless. But yet again, we all know what will happen. Absolutely nothing. If you have read my posts before you will know that I have been advocating that match day officials were accountable for some time. A post mentioning Martin Atkinson’s preferred decision not to give us a pen against Leicester back in January 2019 can be found HERE.

More recently, after the assault on Virgil Van Dijk last season and Hendo’s disallowed goal in the same game, I wrote this in October 2020 HERE. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s only Liverpool who suffer at the hands of this total incompetence. Definitely not. In which case, all fans should be concerned at these events. Because it affects all clubs. You will see other examples in the links I provided above. And, here’s some Aston Villa fans thoughts to use just one example of other fans’ discontent HERE.

And There’s More

Even before our game yesterday, how didn’t Newcastle get a penalty against Manchester City? And how did Manchester City get a penalty against Wolves last week? You can go on and on. Rinse and repeat. Clearly I won’t be mentioning each and every incident but as this is a Liverpool website, I will focus on our incidents more closely of course.

So, even though the match day officials are not accountable and hide behind the system, plenty of pundits have had their say since. Let’s consider some of what has been said.

What The Pundits Thought

In the main, most pundits condemned the Harry Kane tackle on Andy Robertson. Realistically and sensibly, how couldn’t they. It wasn’t only the ‘expert’ pundits though. I happened to be watching the game in a pub with a mixed bag of supporters in it. Liverpool fans along with a Newcastle, Wolves and a Birmingham fan were sat close by. So, putting rivalries to one side (as proper fans do) in such incidents, all were in agreement. Kane’s tackle was a red. And, of course, not unsurprisingly, the comment was made that his saving grace as to how he got away with it was as a result of his status as England captain.

Is that right, or is that wrong? Nobody knows for sure because no match official will stand in front of the cameras and be accountable. But, importantly, fans from a variety of clubs think so. But what better way to quell that belief than to come out and explain the thinking behind the decision. Is that an idea. Yes it is. Will the officials do so though? Nope.

Instead though we get the post match ‘experts’ giving their own versions. And of course in segments like “Ref Watch” (or called something like that), you get another ex-Premier League referee giving his version of events. In the one I watched, Dermot Gallagher (what’s happened to his Irish accent by the way?), did the expected. Rather than 100% condemn Kane’s tackle, he did say he thought Kane got lucky but couldn’t resist the opportunity to sort of justify, or mitigate Messrs Tierney and Kavanagh’s incompetence.

Should Kane Have Seen Red?

As I said the general consensus is, Kane should have walked. Dermot Gallagher quite bizarrely suggested however that if Andy Robertson’s leg had been planted on the ground then Kane may well have seen red. Planted on the ground meaning of course he would have, in all probability, had his leg broken. So, just think about that for a minute. Is he actually trying to suggest that Andy Robertson’s own evasive, self preservation actions made Kane’s wild lunge less dangerous?

But isn’t the issue in these cases dependent on such things like whether or not the player carrying out the assault is in control of his body and actions? And isn’t it a factor whether or not the attacker’s foot is off the floor, high and studs showing? Finally, did he catch Andy Robertson, whether or not Robbo did his utmost to avoid a Christmas present of a broken leg?

The answers to all the above are as follows. Kane was flying through the air at speed and as such, not in control of his body/actions. Yes, his foot was high, off the floor and studs showing. And, of course, he did also clatter into Robbo. I said at the time that another reason where Kane got lucky, if that’s the correct word, is because Robbo didn’t do what a lot of players do. He didn’t roll around, clutching various parts of his body and face.

Imagine if Neymar was on the receiving end of the assault. A red would have been flashed within a couple of seconds. Oh wait, maybe not, as we still have the issue that he may be protected come what may because he is England captain. So, let’s ask a few questions to the officials to see what their thoughts are? Oh wait, we can’t.

Great Result All Things Considered But Could Have Been Better

So, Robbo trying to protect himself also protected England’s darling captain. How bizarre is that. A player flying through the air recklessly and dangerously is OK to do so if the player on the receiving end does his best to avoid serious injury. Is this a rewrite of the rules? Are these “new rules” now saying the onus is on the player being assaulted to do his best to avoid injury and, at the same time, to try and mitigate the punishment for the offender? If that’s the case then wouldn’t all similar tackles be assessed in the same way? Let’s ask the question. Oh wait, we can’t.

But hang on a minute though, they aren’t all assessed in the same way though are they. We don’t even have to check another game with different officials to confirm this other inconsistency. In the same game, Robbo himself was dismissed for a tackle not as bad as Kane’s. But, for now, let’s assume that it was correct that Robbo’s tackle should have gone to VAR and ultimately be deemed worthy of a red.

As everyone is now saying though, why didn’t Kane’s even go to VAR? Because of Robbo’s evasive action seems to be Gallagher’s assessment. If Robbo took evasive action, then why didn’t the Tottenham player do the same? Using the ‘evasive action’ criteria, does this mean the Tottenham player tried to get Robbo sent off? Or, as the cynical have suggested, did Kane escape greater punishment because of his status?

Some Other Views

I listened to other views on Talk Sport on the Laura Woods programme. Ally McCoist said without any hesitation that it was a red. Ex-Tottenham players, Jamie O’Hara, said, even though he thought Kane may have got lucky, “do we really want to see every such tackle result in a red card?” Er, see above. Out of control, foot/feet off the ground, high, caught the player etc; etc. Aren’t the rules already there to suggest that yes, such tackles should result in a red card? So, I think Jamie O’Hara already has his answer despite his preferences to the contrary in his attempts to defend the captain of the club he used to play for.

Did he go on to say, using that very same yardstick, then why send Robbo off? I’m not sure, I switched off after his attempt to defend Kane.

Should Liverpool Have Had A Penalty?

And what about the non penalty decision for the challenge on Diogo Jota? Again, a ludicrous reasoning. According to some of the pundits, the foul on Jota wasn’t a foul as Jota stood and waited for the impact, thereby apparently, inviting the foul. What on earth is that all about? To offer another description, isn’t a player putting his body between the ball and the opposition merely shielding the ball? Isn’t that allowed now?

Here’s something else to consider. What if the Tottenham player checked his challenge and didn’t clatter into Jota’s back and, as a result, didn’t send him crashing to the ground. In all likelihood, Jota would have continued with his shot on goal that, in all likelihood, was what he was really steadying himself for anyway. Result, a goal very possibly. So, wasn’t the Spurs player’s actions preventing a goal scoring opportunity? Not so according to some of the ‘experts.’ Jota being bundled to the ground was, in effect, self inflicted. Go work that one out!!!

Didi Hamann And One Of His Great Skills

We all remember Didi Hamann don’t we. What a great player. I read somewhere that he didn’t think it was a penalty. But hang on a minute, wasn’t it Didi who was the master of ‘buying’ a free kick. An art employed by so many players over the years. How many times did we see Didi at various places on the pitch, shield the ball and whenever a player got tight behind him and gave the slightest of touches, he stumbled down over the ball. Invariably winning a free kick. He was great at it and he wasn’t the only one of course but again, as he played for us, we got to notice it on a regular basis.

Fast forward to today and you see so many players do the same thing. How many times do you see a player, say, tight on the touchline with the ball at feet, boxed in with nowhere really to go, stumble over the ball as soon as they feel the slightest of touches in the back.

And the outcome of that is always a free kick. Not occasionally, but every time. And, of course, the referees are well aware of this ‘tactic.’ Is it ever suggested that these ‘fouled’ players have invited the challenge simply to win a free kick? Of course not. And yet it is obvious and so, so predictable now whenever you see a player in that touchline situation during a game. You watch. In any game in the Premier League, a free kick will be bought.

But, seeing a player aggressively clatter into the back of a striker shielding the ball to get a shot away is OK apparently. And it is the player that is shielding the ball who is the wrongdoer. An absolute joke of a decision.

A Real Game Example Of Buying A Free Kick

A few years ago I was invited to go to a Liverpool U23’s game by a scout. Coincidentally we were playing Tottenham. About 30 minutes before kick off we were in the lounge in the Main Stand and checking out the team sheets. There was a player in the Spurs team who was well known for ‘buying’ a free kick apparently. He had other talents but I can’t remember what they were now.

It was said to me that this player would look to receive the ball some 30 yards or so from our goal and with back to goal. As soon as he felt the slightest touch he would fall forward over the ball. You know the sort of move as we’ve all seen it so many times. And of course, win a free kick in the process.

As this was said some 30 minutes before the game started and this player’s first real involvement was some 30 minutes into the game, this tactic had slipped my mind. But sure enough, around the 30 minutes mark and with back to goal, the player hit the deck in typical fashion as explained above. Did the referee think he ‘bought’ the challenge? Especially as these ‘talents’ are well known to the officials by all accounts. Nope. Straight away, a free kick was given. As soon as it was, I heard an instant, “there you go, I told you.”

Great Result All Things Considered – Finally On This Topic

The other thing to consider is, why would Jota even contemplate going down after inviting a challenge, in the position he was in? About to get a shot way about 8 yards from goal. The referee therefore must have merely assumed that inviting a challenge was Jota’s intention. So, rather than deal with the physical events that have happened right before his eyes, he decides to go into the spooky world of mind reading. You really couldn’t make it up could you.

A draw away at Spurs is normally a great result at the best of time. But yesterday’s was so much more really. Indeed it was a great result all things considered. The issue with the officials is never going to go away unfortunately, unless of course, they do make them accountable. But you know that just won’t happen.

Just consider the comments from Dermot Gallagher and mentions from others about the challenge on Jota. If those comments are considered expert opinions from the ‘experts’ after time to deliberate, is it any wonder why there is a reluctance to put referees in the spotlight? Imagine the gibberish soon after the final whistle. Of course, if that were to happen, then all that would serve in many instances is further confirmation of the real situation that so many of us suspect. And that is, our officials aren’t good enough. Not by a long way.

To Mention It Again – Accountability

The non accountability is another layer of protection for the officials that enables them to hide. Which is so wrong for so many reasons. After all, if they were confident in their own ability and performance then wouldn’t they be more than happy to share their thoughts to the real people who matter? The fans. But the sheer indifference and arrogance sets them apart in such a way that almost makes them seem to be not even part of the game.

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