Ref for this match was Michael Oliver
A match of two halves for the ref. The first half he was excellent. Just falling for a dive from Coutinho and not giving a foul in favour of Alexis when it was a foul. But for the rest spot on with his decisions. So an excellent score 87% in general and when we put weight on the decisions it even ends up over 90%. And if we only look at the important decisions he gets a score of 100%.
But then I don’t know what happened or what was put in his interval tea. Because he had a disaster start of the second half.
Sterling pushing the ball past Debuchy and throwing himself against Debuchy and falling for the tumble. And giving Debuchy a yellow card for this dive from Sterling. Sterling should have been booked for diving as he went down clearly before any contact was made and then made sure he ended up against the body of Debuchy.
The ref then let go a clear foul on Chamberlain when Coutinho pulled him back and he lost his speed and then lost the ball. It looks silly when a ref indicates advantage when the ball is lost by the player that was fouled.
The next bad game management was the treatment of Skrtel on the field. Where was the “keep the game flowing” at that moment? The instructions are clear. Only when a player is seriously injured and cannot be moved unless a doctor is doing it the player should be removed from the field as soon as possible and be treated outside the field of play. It was just a bleeding head wound that Skrtel had so he could have been moved outside and get stitched up there. Now the game was interrupted for 5-6 minutes. If the ref would have done his job the game could have been restarted after 2 minutes at the most.
Yes Liverpool could have then faced a period of a few minutes being a man down but it is not up to the ref to stop the game in such cases. So that was bad game management from the ref. It helped Liverpool in those few minutes and helped them at the end when the match otherwise would have been over as then there wouldn’t have been the need to allow 9 extra minutes.
Another big miss by the ref was the cheating handball from Sterling. He clearly took the ball with his arm away from Szczesny outside the penalty area and Liverpool almost scored from this cheating. That should have been a yellow card for Sterling and after his dive a bit earlier he should have been send off.
Let us move on to Borini. After smashing the ball on the floor in anger because he didn’t get a throw in he got a yellow card. He then got a second when he kicked Cazorla in the chest and wounded him. You could clearly see the flesh wound from his studs through his torn shirt. The ref gave a second yellow card but this was a straight red. The final result of the incident didn’t really change as Liverpool had to play with 10 men but this was a wrong referee decision and so we have noted it.
As a result of all these misses the score from the ref dropped dramatically to only 57% overall. And when we put weight on it he only gets a score of 51%. If we only look at the important decisions it drops to only 36%. What went wrong at half time????
The overall score after 90 minutes + extra time was 72%. If we put weight on the decisions it is 67%. If we only look at the important decisions he gets a score of only 50%.
The bias score over the whole match was one-sided. In case of doubt give the decision to Liverpool seemed to be his motto on the day. So he gave all what was wrong to Liverpool.
After a brilliant first half it all went terribly wrong for the ref in the second half. I have witnessed it before with some refs. You have an excellent first half, go in the dressing room knowing how great you did. And then you lose your concentration when you have to come out for the second half, you think you have the match in the pocket and then suddenly you start to lose the grip and you end up with a bad report. It can happen and it even happened to me in my early days when at half time both teams and their staff went off and told me I was the best ref they had seen that season and at the end of the match after a bad second half I was the worst they had ever seen. I learned from it and vowed to not lose any focus or concentration at half time no matter what they said.
However I must admit that Sterling made it difficult for the ref to spot it. But this was a classical case where a video ref could have helped the ref a lot in making better decisions.
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