The Liverpool manager was irate after the defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day, labelling referee Lee Mason’s performance “horrendous” and adding "I thought we never got any decision. Hopefully we don't have another Greater Manchester referee again on a Liverpool-Manchester game.”
The implication of bias was what proved costly for Rodgers, as the FA statement read: "Rodgers was charged for a breach of FA Rule E3 in that his post-match comments following Liverpool's game at Manchester City on 26 December 2013 constituted improper conduct in that they called into question the integrity of the match referee, and/or implied that the match referee was motivated by bias; and/or brought the game into disrepute; and/or amounted to a failure to act in the best interests of the game."
Referee Mason is from Bolton and referees are only allocated to matches which do not involve teams that they have a personal interest in or those teasm’ rivals.
The Northern Irish manager felt aggrieved after Raheem Sterling had been incorrectly given offside when through on goal while the score was still 0-0 and later in the match a Luis Suarez penalty appeal was turned down when Joleon Lescott was pulled in the box.
While both of these decisions were incorrect it was surely unwise of Rodgers, who normally doesn’t overly criticise referees, to go overboard in his criticism as the linesman’s call for the offside was not that of Mason and Suarez’s typical over-reaction to the Lescott challenge did his team no favours.
Liverpool lost the following fixture at Chelsea, and despite a victory at Hull afterwards have dropped from first place to fourth.
The 40-year-old admitted his error by accepting the charge in a letter to the FA on Wednesday.
Rodgers will be relieved not to be hit with a touchline ban with his side facing a tough match away to Stoke City this Sunday, a fixture they have yet to win in Premier League history.
Breaking that run will be crucial if the Reds are to keep within touching distance of Chelsea, City and Arsenal.
image: © Bernard C