Liverpool’s Andy Robertson is ‘lucky to be walking’

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson is ‘lucky to be walking’

by Emily Smith
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Harry Kane was controversially awarded a yellow card for his challenge on Andy RobertsonFormer Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has criticised the officiating in Tottenham’s draw with Liverpool on Sunday, saying Andy Robertson is “lucky to be walking”.

The left-back was on the end of a strong studs-up tackle from Harry Kane.

Referee Paul Tierney only gave a yellow card and Robertson was later shown a straight red for a foul on Emerson Royal that was reviewed by VAR.

“I think Kane’s tackle’s worse than Robertson’s,” said Clattenburg.

Liverpool held to 2-2 draw by TottenhamListen to Mark Clattenburg on refereeing and VAR on Football DailyGo straight to all the best Tottenham contentVisit our Liverpool pageBBC Sport was told one of the mitigating factors behind the decision not to dismiss Kane for his first-half challenge was the fact Robertson lifted his standing leg out of the way of the Spurs captain’s tackle.

“To hear that Robertson has to have his leg planted alarms me, because if he does that he’s not walking this Christmas,” Clattenburg told the Monday Night Club on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If you don’t believe this is a clear and obvious error about Kane, you’re not doing your job correctly.

“I think we, as referees, are sometimes guilty of knowing the laws of the game but we don’t understand the game.

“VAR cannot get this wrong. Referees can, because they have a split second. VAR have all the angles, he’s got all the slow-motion, he can see the point of contact.

“If they are saying that his leg has to be planted, which is a new one to me, if the leg was high, the studs were showing, it’s reckless, he’s lunged. For me, he’s endangered the safety of the opponent.

“Robbo is lucky today that he’s still walking. We should understand footballers more because he’s not going to leave his leg there, why should he? He’s not going to want his leg broken and his career put in doubt.”

Clattenburg, who spent 13 years as a Premier League referee from 2004 to 2017, is now Head of Officiating in Greece.

“In Greece, we release the audio of VAR decisions,” he said.

“People appreciate it. They might not always agree with it, but they appreciate it. I think that should happen.

“We should be able to listen to the audio. We might not agree with it, but at least then we would understand.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was booked for his reaction to the decision not to send Kane off and confronted the officials at full-time, telling Tierney: “I have no problem with any other referees, only you.”

Klopp told BBC Sport after the game: “I think we all agree it is a clear red card. I just need to ask two people – Mr Tierney and whoever was the VAR. You can give Robertson a red card, he knows that himself, but Harry should not have been on the pitch in the second half.

“If Mr Tierney does not see it, I get that. But the VAR was obviously awake because he told him to look again at Robertson.”

BBC Sport understands the Football Association has reviewed Klopp’s comments about Tierney and decided to take no further action.

Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders says the club have not spoken to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) about the refereeing during Sunday’s game, though he did express his frustration at what he feels is a lack of punishment for officials who get big decisions wrong.

“Everyone saw what happened,” said Lijnders. “I think VAR is a good thing that is in football because it can help to make the big decisions right.

“Everyone makes mistakes. If Jurgen or myself make big mistakes, we get punished, if the players make mistakes, they get punished. If a referee makes mistakes, the players and team get punished.

“I’m not talking about the small mistakes in the game because that’s football, it goes so quick, but VAR is there to help the referee and what I still don’t understand is why VAR is always a separate person, why VAR is not part of a team.

“They need to be a team because together they are responsible. If there are always changes, it will not work. It would be the same if Jurgen had a different assistant manager every week.

“I wish we had VAR to make better decisions as coaches because then I won’t make mistakes.”

Newcastle have written to the Premier League to question recent refereeing decisions they feel have gone against them.

In Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Manchester City Martin Atkinson did not award a penalty to Newcastle for goalkeeper Ederson’s challenge on Ryan Fraser, a decision Howe called “baffling” and former Newcastle captain Alan Shearer described as “terrible”.

Shearer said on Match of the Day that Mike Riley, general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), should “take responsibility” for recent mistakes and said the standard of refereeing is “not acceptable”.

BBC Sport approached PGMOL, which declined to comment.

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