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Former top referee gives verdict on 3 Newcastle v Liverpool incidents

4 years ago

Former top referee Dermot Gallagher has had a look at three incidents from Sunday’s game.

Dermot Gallagher reviews controversial decisions in the Premier League after each weekend of games, on behalf of Sky Sports.

In the Newcastle v Liverpool game, he has considered the Joe Gomez challenge on Christian Atsu, which produced only a yellow card for the defender. Then also two possible penalty decisions involving Ciaran Clark.

On the Atsu/Gomez incident, Dermot Gallagher says ‘We have to be careful that we don’t have a knee jerk reaction and think because we saw a red card earlier in the season, every time a boot is raised, it’s a sending off’. Gallagher believing a yellow card was a fitting punishment.

As for the Ciaran Clark incidents, his main point is that on the two corners, referee Craig Pawson was badly positioned.

Rather than giving his verdict on whether a penalty/penalties should have been given, Dermot Gallagher instead suggests that maybe either/both of them could have been given, and that especially with the second one – if the referee had seen what TV viewers saw, they would have at least understood his reasons why a spot-kick had been awarded.

Dermot Gallacher speaking to Sky Sports:


Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark commits two similar fouls in quick succession. Liverpool have two corners and in the first, he appears to pull on the shirt of Joel Matip before doing so again for the second, this time on Dejan Lovren. Both incidents go unpunished with no yellow cards or penalties.


“Referee’s positioning means he misses both incidents.”

Dermot Gallacher:

“I can understand why the first one doesn’t get seen because both players are grabbing. But when you see an incident like that and the ball goes out for a corner, everything will be telling you to be alert and switched on when the next ball comes in.

“But for the next corner, the referee takes a position where he can’t see that. I would think after the first one, your vision would need to be looking down the line, but the position he has taken up means he doesn’t see the shirt being lifted and the giveaway is the amount of flesh.

“If he had given a penalty, everyone would have been able to see why, but because of his position, he doesn’t see the incident.”


Joe Gomez goes to clear a ball ahead of Christian Atsu, but it is a high challenge and he goes over the top of the Newcastle forward. He receives a yellow card.


Correct decision.

Dermot Gallacher:

“I don’t think he is lucky to get away with not being sent off. We have to be careful that we don’t have a knee jerk reaction and think because we saw a red card earlier in the season, every time a boot is raised, it’s a sending off. We have to judge every one on individual merits.

“If you watch this incident, it is a lot more interesting. The player goes for the ball and actually plays the ball. The forward comes into him and the boot is high but it is a boot that has just taken the ball away. It is not a boot that has gone into a player at speed with intensity and force.

“We have to be careful that we don’t think that every time we see a boot raised, it is a definite red card. You’ve got to take every one on its individual merit. He is not endangering the opponent in any way, shape or form.”

For what it is worth, I reckon the referee, whether by luck or good judgement, got all three decisions right.

The Atsu challenge didn’t deserve a red card and the two Ciaran Clark pieces of action were just your normal pushing, shoving, grabbing, which in any corner in any match could then potentially see a penalty given.


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