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Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers blasts referee Lee Mason

Dec 26, 2013, 4:48 PM EDT

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers probably has a point in some of the blistering criticism aimed at referee Lee Mason.

Rodgers, upset about a trio of decisions that went Manchester City’s way at the Etihad on Boxing Day, doesn’t have a point in a conspiracy sense, necessarily, but perhaps in a fairness sense.  And, as Rodgers suggested, these were potentially game-changing moments in question. But …

Rodgers took his comments a bit too far, walking right up to the line of suggesting outright bias for a man (Mason) who works and lives in nearby Bolton. Here’s what Rodgers said when asked about Mason in the still-fuming minutes after Liverpool fell to Manchester City, 2-1:

“Where do you want me to start? I thought we never got any decisions.

“The linesman on the offside one, he wasn’t even on the same cut of grass. If you’re working at this level you have to get it right. That’s not even a difficult one, that one. These are things we work on and we talk about; we’re asking these young players to make those runs across to try and break their lines, and it’s a perfectly-timed run and he [the assistant] has given offside when he is through one-on-one on goal. These are big moments in big games.

“There is another incident when Louie [Luis Suarez] doesn’t get a free-kick when Joleon Lescott went right through him, and it was waved ‘play-on.’

“And it is arguable it is a penalty at the end. Luis Suarez can’t jump because he is tugging at his shirt.

“I thought it was throughout the evening as well. Hopefully we don’t have another Greater Manchester referee again on a Liverpool-Manchester game.”

(MORE: City climbs to second with victory over Liverpool)

It is that last part will have the Football Association to buzzing.

Oh, and this should be said, too: If Rodgers is going to hack away at Mason, that’s his right, I suppose. He’s a big boy and he surely understands the consequences. But two quick points to consider:

First, that early offside call – young Liverpool striker Raheem Sterling was, in fact, incorrectly ruled offside when put clean through against City’s Joe Hart – had nothing to do with Mason. It was the assistant who raised a flag, not the man in the middle.

And on the two potential big calls against Suarez: well, this is where the notorious striker’s reputation works against him. A reputation is just that, a “reputation.” Whether that’s right or wrong is a different conversation. But Suarez hasn’t always been the best boy (that part in inarguable) and he’s long lost the benefit of the doubt. That’s what you get with such a figure: a lot of “good” slowed slightly by the weight of his own history, and Rodgers should know so.

  1. misterdreamer119 - Dec 26, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    The kid was onside.

  2. jrocknstuff - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Of course Sterling was onside, but as Steve said that wasn’t Mason’s call. Once the linesman raises his flag, right or wrong, Mason had to blow the play dead. Rodgers isn’t going to get anywhere blaming Mason for the offside call. As for the shirt tug, yes it was a penalty but Suarez took a dive in the wrong direction because the tug didn’t pull him down. Had he dove in the direction of the tug he may have won the penalty, but he definitely took a dive after the original shirt pull didn’t take him off his feet. Rodgers would have been well served to blame Mignolet for letting in such a soft goal from Negredo.

  3. medic0nduty - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Going through what I think about the decisions:

    - Offside call against Sterling: Complete BS. It’s probably the most clear-cut decision an AR can make and he’s somehow messed it up.

    - Non-call on Lescott holding Suarez’s shirt: No problem with this one. If what Lescott did was a penalty, then Liverpool should have had two or three penalties against them for Skrtel trying to prematurely change shirts with Kompany on every corner City had; not calling a penalty in Suarez’s case was Lee Mason sticking to his earlier decisions. Besides, the way Suarez threw himself to the ground was probably enough to give the ref the sense that he was having a dive.

    • Steve Davis - Dec 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      VERY good point on Skrtel and Kompany; you’d have to pay a cover charge to see that much undressing in some places! Rodgers seemed to conveniently give that one a pass … I probably should have made note of that, so I appreciate you bringing it up.

  4. konmtu - Dec 27, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    It looked to me (and I really hope it doesn’t continue) that Suarez was trying all game long to get calls by diving. It was disappointing. He was doing a lot of that last season, and it impacted the calls he did or didn’t get. This year. he’s just been playing through that stuff and just scoring. I like that Suarez better than the diving Suarez. I hope this was just a one-off performance.

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