Given this revelation, how will referees look at challenges involving the winger?
Anthony Taylor, the referee in Liverpool’s 5-3 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium at the weekend, admitted he was conned by Raheem Sterling into giving the visitors a penalty, the Daily Mail reports.
Taylor is reported to have accepted he was duped into giving the penalty in the second half of the game when the game was level at 2-2 after he went down under the challenge of Marc Wilson which led manager Brendan Rodgers to brand it as a 'Spanish penalty'.
Both Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show that it wasn’t a penalty but said they believed the 19-year-old winger didn’t dive. He may not have done but the implications on Sterling now could be negative. Many fans, pundits and commentators will think referees should just make decisions based on what they see rather than taking into account the context of a situation – that’s not always the case.
The context at the moment revolving around the youngster is that he is a player who can go down easily under a challenge, so is it actually a foul? From now on when Sterling goes down under a challenge there is going to be a seed of doubt in the officials minds, did he go down too easily? Was there enough contact? Or indeed did the defender involved in the challenge actually touch him?
Even if he is fouled and the referee should award him a set piece there is going to be an element of doubt in the referee’s mind – and with that doubt Liverpool will probably not get the decisions.
This makes any treatment that Sterling gets in the next few weeks very interesting to watch.
image: © kong niffe