Jurgen Klopp said he was surprised that Sadio Mane was not sent off against Crystal Palace, although he insisted that the Senegalese winger had not dived after picking up a first-half caution for simulation.
Liverpool earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Roy Hodgson’s men at Selhurst Park with second-half goals from Mane and Mohamed Salah after Luka Milivojevic’s first-half penalty had given Palace the lead.
— LFC Photo (@LFCphoto) March 31, 2018
Still, Klopp was relieved Mane had stayed on the pitch after he grabbed the ball after being tackled in the second half, but said that he shouldn’t have been booked anyway.
“It was no dive. Diving is without contact,” Klopp said. “There was contact, 100 per cent. The player wants to carry on, and then you see you can’t, so you go down. He didn’t wait for the contact, he felt it. Everybody saw it.
“We cannot say it was a penalty, but it was not a dive. And then he has to go through the whistling constantly when he gets the ball, because the referee was sure there was no contact or something like that.
“The second yellow? I think it was a foul on Sadio, but he made the wrong decision to put the hand on the ball. I thought ‘right, that’s it! Au revoir!’ I thought he was gone. We were lucky in that moment, but in my opinion that should have been his first card of the game.”
Referee Neil Swarbrick penalised Mane for a deliberate handball, but resisted the temptation to send him off as the rules state a yellow should be given if the handball ‘interferes or prevents’ a promising attack.
It was a ruling not everyone agreed with.
Mane – deliberate handball – should be booked and sent off. But ref did not want to upset the media favs pic.twitter.com/D2tSeuKCty
— Shed Hender (@ShedHender) March 31, 2018
Mane had to go there. Utterly dreadful, gutless refereeing.
— John Brewin (@JohnBrewin_) March 31, 2018
Mane is not getting a second yellow for a deliberate handball and people where wondering why no referee from England made it to the world cup
— KAVI. (@blurt2kc) March 31, 2018
Referee is shocking. Thought that was a foul, but if he's giving it Palace's way Mané should be off. Premier League refeering ladies and gentlemen.
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) March 31, 2018