It wasn’t only the four goals in the Liverpool 2 Newcastle 2 match that were major talking points.

Possible offsides called wrong, penalty claims, stray ‘elbows’ and even a phantom whistle.

Referee Andre Marriner had a a full on game to officiate but did he get the big decisions right?

I was surprised to see the article on The Mag earlier today with comments from Liverpool fans, where it was claimed that the home side got nothing from the referee and Newcastle got everything in their favour.

That would be a definite first for us at Anfield!

Former Premier League ref Dermot Gallagher has reviewed the major incidents for Sky Sports and came up with some interesting conclusions…

INCIDENT: Daniel Sturridge’s second-minute goal is allowed to stand despite the player looking offside.

SCENARIO: A long ball is played upfield to Sturridge, who is positioned between two defenders. When he comes into shot on television pictures, the striker appears to be in an offside position – although replays show him to have come from an onside position when the ball was played. Sturridge chests the ball down, takes a touch then turns and shoots low into the bottom corner to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead, with referee Andre Marriner and his assistant Stephen Child allowing the goal to stand.

GALLAGHER’S VERDICT: Correct decision.

INCIDENT: Roberto Firmino scores but has his goal disallowed for offside.

SCENARIO: James Milner collects the ball on the right wing, cuts inside and crosses to Joe Allen, whose header is palmed away by Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow. Firmino is waiting at the back post and after the rebound falls to him, he takes a touch with his thigh before tapping in on the line. The goal is not allowed to stand, with assistant referee Harry Lennard flagging it off.

GALLAGHER’S VERDICT: Correct decision.

GALLAGHER SAYS: “I think the interesting thing here is if it goes in during the first phase of play, Harry doesn’t flag. What happens though is the ‘keeper saves it and by then Firmino is in an offside position as he follows it up. It would have been a goal initially had Allen’s header gone in but once it was saved, Firmino was offside. Harry has kept his focus on the player who has gone forward and disallowed it correctly.”

INCIDENT: Papiss Cisse escapes a yellow card after colliding with Dejan Lovren and conceding a free kick.

SCENARIO: A high ball drops with Cisse and Lovren jostling to win possession. The players come together with Cisse’s right arm outstretched. Lovren falls to the ground and lands on his knees with his face down and coughing, whereas Cisse goes on to contest the loose ball before play is stopped and Marriner gives a foul against him for his challenge on Lovren. No caution is issued.

GALLAGHER’S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

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GALLAGHER SAYS: “I didn’t think it was an elbow. It wasn’t very nice because if you see it, Cisse has looked for it and has caught him with his forearm across the throat. It’s reckless and I think he should have got a yellow card. The good thing about it is the lad looked very bad at the time and was a lot better afterwards. It didn’t cause the damage it could have done.”

INCIDENT: Cheick Tiote trips Sturridge in the area but no penalty is given.

SCENARIO: Sturridge cuts into the penalty area from the right and after a stepover, turns to his right away from Tiote and then right again before being brought down. Tiote’s right knee appears to catch the England striker’s right knee but referee Marriner waves play on and does not give the penalty. He also decides not to caution Sturridge for simulation.

GALLAGHER’S VERDICT: Wrong decision.

GALLAGHER SAYS: “I don’t know why it wasn’t given because I thought it was a penalty. Sometimes you can’t win the ball and this is a classic example of that. Sturridge has hidden the ball from Tiote and he’s got to go through him to get it but Sturridge moved the ball away and had his legs taken from him. It’s just an incident the referee didn’t see as I see it – but he doesn’t have the luxury of being able to see replays from different angles. It should have been a penalty.”

INCIDENT: A fan watching the match blows a whistle during play.

SCENARIO: With the half-time interval imminent, someone in the crowd blows a whistle in an attempt to make people believe it is signalling the end of the first half. Although the players on the pitch don’t react and referee Marriner waves play on, many onlookers believe the whistle to have marked the end of play and begin applauding. After a couple of seconds, Marriner feels he has no choice but to stop play to end the confusion and restarts play with a drop ball to Newcastle, who play it back to Liverpool given they had been in possession at the time.

GALLAGHER’S VERDICT: Correct decision.

GALLAGHER SAYS: “It has put the referee in an impossible position and he is forced to stop the game. The players are really good here – they accepted he had to stop the game and they let him drop the ball, which he had to, and they restarted as normal. It’s a strange, strange incident and I don’t know why people do it. It’s not good. Maybe the guy wanted a half-time cup of tea a bit early but we don’t want to see that.”

Having been at the game and then watching later on TV, it is interesting what you see and don’t see from both perspectives.

I’d never really thought Sturridge was possibly offside for the first goal and saw the Cisse clash with Lovren as accidental at the time.

As for the phantom whistler, I wondered what they were up to when they had that drop ball after stopping play – you do wonder at the mentality of somebody who would go to the bother of taking their own whistle…obviously a frustrated referee/deviant!

The Firmino disallowed goal was obvious for me when you saw it on TV, whilst as for the Sturridge/Tiote ‘penalty’ incident…

I do think we probably got away with one there and Cheick Tiote was maybe guilty on a number of occasions of losing that discipline which he appeared to have discovered in recent matches.

Having said that, Sturridge was going nowhere really when the incident occurred and there were plenty of other Newcastle players back.

Let’s hope even the match officials are smiling on Newcastle United in these final three games.