Dermot Gallagher believes that the officials got one big decision right during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Saturday.
The Reds were trailing during the second half when Ruben Dias thought he’d doubled the home side’s lead, only for the goal to be disallowed as Manuel Akanji was adjudged to have fouled Alisson Becker as the ball made the way to the Portuguese defender.
Jamie Carragher stated in Sky Sports’ match coverage that the Brazilian goalkeeper was ‘extremely lucky’ to have had the free kick given in his team’s favour, although one former Premier League referee took a different view.
Speaking on Sky Sports News‘ Ref Watch segment on Monday, Gallagher said of the incident: “They say goalkeepers are over protected, but you only have to knock him slightly off balance and he has lost all stability, he can’t catch the ball – he loses the ball and knocks him enough off balance to give a foul.”
We’re siding with Gallagher on this one – there wasn’t much contact from Akanji, but enough to justify a foul being given by Chris Kavanagh.
Alisson was off the ground when the Man City defender shoved him, and the Switzerland international had eyes only for his opponent rather than the ball, so the Liverpool stopper was definitely impeded.
Goalkeepers can sometimes get away with having free kicks awarded despite little or no contact from opponents, but the former top-flight official’s verdict is correct – the Brazilian was knocked off balance by the 28-year-old to allow Dias a tap-in.
It’s fair to say that the Reds’ number one endured one of his most difficult days at the club with his overall performance on Saturday, but there was no error on his part when it came to the disallowed goal. He was unfairly blocked off, and thankfully Kavanagh called it right.
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