The Reds were dumped out of the FA Cup by the Gunners in the fifth round tie 2-1 but by all accounts Brendan Rodgers’ side ought to have been awarded a penalty when Luis Suarez was fouled clumsily in the box by Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Whilst Reds fans and pundits alike have made public their disagreement with Webb’s decision, the Uruguayan hitman who currently remains Premier League top scorer this term, has now defended the English official.
“I think everyone could see that it was 100% a penalty but sometimes it’s difficult for the referees,” Suarez said.
“I understand that. Referees are normal people and they can miss things sometimes. It’s the same with players. As a striker sometimes you make a mistake and miss a chance.”
“On the pitch you can see one image, on the TV you see another image. Referees don’t get to see the replays. That decision didn’t go our way but we have moved on,” he added.
Suarez’ response is a clear sign of his increased maturity as well as his focus on Liverpool’s top priority this term of qualifying for the Champions League next term via a top four finish in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, other professionals in the game have been in hot water this week over their comments against referees – most notably Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini who could be in trouble with UEFA after suggesting their official in his side’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League was biased in favour of the Catalans after Martin Demichelis was dismissed in their last sixteen clash at the Etihad on Tuesday.
It’s refreshing to hear a player, especially of Suarez’ status, coming out publicly to call for calm and reason when it comes to match officials in the modern game where every blade of grass on the pitch can be analysed from several angles by pundits on television.
Liverpool may have gone out of the FA Cup on an unfair decision but they can take more than a little consolation from the improved attitude, focus, and maturity of their star player this term who looks to have turned a corner in his Anfield career this year.
image: © dannymol