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Gary Neville has taken a different view on Anthony Taylor’s performance to what both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola felt about the referee in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Manchester City. The Premier League clash at Anfield didn’t disappoint with tackles flying in from both sets of players and drama throughout the match.
Nothing separated the two teams in the opening 45 minutes but the game started to open up more in the second half as they pushed for a winner. City thought they had done just that when Phil Foden’s shot deflected in off Joe Gomez, only for Taylor to disallow the goal for Erling Haaland’s foul on Fabinho early in the build-up.
Mohamed Salah’s sensational solo goal after a superb pass from Alisson proved to be the difference in the end. But there was a further incident on the touchline 10 minutes later when Klopp was left furious at the linesman not waving for a foul from Bernardo Silva on Salah down in the corner.
The Liverpool boss responded by shouting directly in the face of the assistant referee, leading to Taylor brandishing a red card. Klopp admitted after the match he was “not proud” of his action, but still couldn’t understand some of the decisions made by Taylor in the match.
Guardiola similarly was perplexed, insinuating the match official lacked consistency by disallowing Foden’s goal for Haaland’s foul on Fabinho. Neville too questioned whether Taylor could have stayed consistent by allowing Foden’s goal to stand, but ultimately felt the referee handled the game well as a whole.
“It was just a real struggle to watch, real intense – how a big game should be and maybe has been in years gone by,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “The way in which the referee approached it I think was really good.
“That was the one thing about the VAR decision when you think about the referee’s approach to the game. The VAR official in Stockley Park maybe could say ‘well go and have a look at it’.
“I think if Anthony Taylor had been consistent with how he’d actually done it – I should have said this on commentary and not in the studio – I actually thought at the time it was a foul. But Anthony Taylor, the one he let go in the corner with Bernardo [Silva] and Salah – he’d been letting those types of challenges go all game.
“So actually he had an opportunity to remain consistent when he went over to the screen.” When asked whether he thought it was different due to the outcome of Haaland’s foul on Fabinho, Neville said: “Maybe. But I’m just saying he had the chance to remain consistent with his approach.
“Now I’m not knocking him because I thought today to be fair to him we saw a referee who was really sure and had to be sure to referee the game in that way. We’ve been calling out for years in this studio – five or six years ago there was a time where pundits including ourselves would say ‘we never see challenges anymore, contact is gone in the game’.
“We’re now seeing that coming back and I don’t think we should to be fair be too critical of Anthony Taylor’s approach. I thought it was fantastic and added to this game.”
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