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3 questions to ask on controversial incident that won game for Liverpool against Newcastle United

1 month ago

Manchester City had stretched their lead to four points when hammering Leeds 7-0, only for Liverpool to close back up to just a point behind with their win on Thursday night.

The media reporting on this as another straightforward regulation win for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Looking at the overall stats after the final whistle, they back up that kind of reporting.

Liverpool with 74% possession, 23 v 4 on shots, 8 v 2 on efforts on target, whilst the corner count was 11 v 0.

However, key moments and goals change games and we certainly had a moment in last night’s match.

Yes, Liverpool may well have gone on and won anyway…but Shelvey had given Newcastle a seventh minute lead and the home side hadn’t really threatened, until it all changed on 21 minutes.

A Liverpool corner from the left saw a group of players come together on the edge of the six yard box, two Newcastle players falling to the ground, Isaac Hayden staying there, lying flat to the ground.

Play was allowed to continue despite Hayden lying there motionless, the ball eventually worked around to the Liverpool right. The ball crossed in towards where the Newcastle player was still lying flat out, the ball reaching Jota, Dubravka an excellent close range save but could do nothing with the follow up. This action happening all with a few yards of the still motionless Isaac Hayden.

The goal given, Liverpool equalise, Mike Dean at last signalling for somebody to come on and see if Isaac Hayden was ok.

There are three key questions to consider:

Should Liverpool have stopped playing / put the ball out?

Did Isaac Hayden really have a head injury?

Should Mike Dean have stopped the game so Hayden could get immediate attention?

In order…

No, I don’t blame the Liverpool players at all. If it was the other way around, I would 100% have wanted Newcastle to keep going and try to score. It wasn’t their call.

Who knows whether Hayden did have a head injury or not, it is the same in all of these cases. If somebody goes down after a challenge and isn’t getting back up, lying flat out, nobody knows for sure either way. Whether or not the Newcastle midfielder could or couldn’t be shown afterwards to have suffered a head injury, is irrelevant when we are talking about whether play should have been stopped at the time.

So, finally, should Mike Dean have blown his whistle and stopped play, so that Isaac Hayden could be looked at ASAP? Absolutely he should, there is no doubt about it. Every single time this scenario happens in Premier League games now, the referee stops play, with the player’s welfare paramount. Mike Dean says he thought Hayden was lying there motionless because he had hurt his back and not his head. He is wasted as a referee, should be a top star in the NHS instead, when he can so confidently rule out totally a head injury from twenty yards away. It is a total joke. The question should always be, what would be the norm in Premier League games for a referee to do when this kind of incident happens? The easy answer is that normally, every other single time, the game is stopped, the player’s health is paramount, treatment is allowed ASAP just in case this is something serious. Mike Dean didn’t do what is expected and the norm. In the process, he turned the game around for Liverpool, leaving Newcastle United wondering just what might have been…

Stats from BBC Sport:

Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Thursday 16 December 8pm

(Half-time stats in brackets)



Jota 21, Salah 25, Alexander-Arnold 87


Shelvey 7

Possession was Liverpool 74% (77%) Newcastle 26% (23%)

Total shots were Liverpool 23 (12) Newcastle 4 (2)

Shots on target were Liverpool 8 (6) Newcastle 2 (2)

Corners were Liverpool 11 (6) Newcastle 0 (0)

Referee: Mike Dean

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis (Ritchie 15), Hayden, Murphy, Shelvey, Fraser (Willock 87), Saint-Maximin (Wilson 79), Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Hendrick, Gayle, Longstaff, Almiron, Clark

(Jurgen Klopp says he can understand why Eddie Howe might ‘not be happy about that’ – Read HERE)

(Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Eddie Howe points finger of blame at Mike Dean after Newcastle United defeat at Anfield – Read HERE)

(Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Thursday’s defeat – Read HERE)


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