Monday 27 January 2020

Sadio Mane's verdict on his Selhurst Park 'dive' as John Aldridge slams Premier League referees

Sadio Mane scored Liverpool's first goal at Selhurst Park and was also booked for diving
Sadio Mane scored Liverpool's first goal at Selhurst Park and was also booked for diving
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Sadio Mane has given his verdict on his booking for diving at Crystal Palace on Saturday and insisted he should not have been sent off for a deliberate handball in the second half at Selhurst Park.

Referee Neil Swarbrick showed Mane a yellow card as he tumbled into the box in the first half looking for a penalty, even though TV replays confirmed Palace midfielder Andros Townsend had made contact with the Senegal forward before he fell to the ground.

The match official then appeared to make a big mistake as he failed to give Mane a second booking after he grabbed the ball to halt the play, with the Liverpool forward clearly confused by many of the events in a game that also saw him score a equalising goal in a 2-1 win for the Reds.

“Honestly, I was thinking he was going to give a penalty,” Mane told the Liverpool Echo, as he reflected on the first half clash with Townsend. “

“He didn’t give it but I was not focused on that because it’s part of what can happen. I could have been lucky but it’s part of football. I was doing my best and in the end I scored a goal.

“I was not worried (about the handball). I was surprised he didn’t give the foul but in my mind it was not a red card or something because I was sure that this was a foul.

“I’m someone who believes in myself, and I believe in the qualities of my team-mates. I know what they can do. At 1-0 down I was thinking ‘we can come back’. We did the job.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge believes referee Swarbrick made a succession of errors in the game at Selhurst Park, as he told that the standard of refereeing has plummeted in the Premier League.

“The referee on Saturday made so many mistakes and kept compounding them by making another one,” Aldo told us. “He gave Palace a penalty early on and from that moment on, he knew he didn’t have control of the game.

“I reckon he didn’t send Mane off for the handball in the second half because someone had a word with him to let him know he got it wrong booking the Liverpool player for ‘diving’ when he was kicked in the box in the first half.

“Clearly he should have given Mane a second yellow card, but by then he was trying to put right the wrongs of what had gone before and he had lost his way in the game.

“I’m not surprised. The standard of refereeing in the Premier League this season has been appalling and what we saw on Saturday was just another example.

“English referees used to be the best in the game, but I look forward to the Champions League quarter-final between Liverpool and Man City on Wednesday and hope it won't be ruined by bad decisions because we will have a foreign official in charge.”

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