Dermot Gallagher reacts to referee controversy during Everton draw v Liverpool
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher believes the referee got two major decisions correct during Saturday’s Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool.
The Blues were denied a late winner by Conor Coady after a marginal offside decision went against him, while Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk escaped a red card for a high tackle on Amadou Onana too.
But while there has been plenty of controversy about the decisions made on the day, Gallagher told Sky Sports’ Ref Watch segment [5 September] that he feels both decisions were right.
“I think it’s a yellow card,” he said. “I think he goes down, I get that, I think he goes down but the maximum impact comes on top of the foot.
“I’m not sure, because he’s come a short distance he hasn’t got the speed and intensity. I think he goes down, catches him but the big impact is on the bottom of the foot. I didn’t say it wasn’t a foul, I think it’s a foul and a yellow card.
Gallagher also claimed the decision to rule out Conor Coady’s goal was correct, because James Milner’s deflection on the cross is “immaterial” as he wasn’t trying to deliberately play the ball.
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“Whether it hits his foot or not is immaterial,” he said. “Because the law says he has to deliberately play the ball, or be in possession of the ball. That’s an attempted block, which deflects into his [Coady’s] path.
“He’s trying to block the ball. However you cut it, the law is quite clear. In that situation if it strikes his foot it’s a deflection and deflects to Coady, it doesn’t play him onside. He has to be in possession of the ball, he has to have control of the ball or he has to deliberately try to play that ball safe, which he’s not.
“His sole intention is to block that cross. It flies off his boot, no doubt about it, but that’s negated.”
Gallagher doesn’t even sound convinced by his own argument with these decisions and it seems harsh that Everton come away with nothing from them.
Van Dijk’s tackle is high and dangerous and could quite easily have seriously injured Onana on the day, and just because his studs scrape down his shine instead of stamping through them shouldn’t change the fact that it was dangerous and should’ve been a red card.
As for the disallowed goal if trying to block a cross isn’t deliberately attempting the play the ball then nothing is. Had Maupay been in his own half and kicked the ball and Milner had blocked it and it had gone through to a striker, that would be offside because it’s a deliberate pass or deflection.
It shouldn’t be any different if you’re the defensive team and ultimately Everton were denied a huge three points and a memorable win that their performance on the day deserved and would’ve given them the last laugh over Jamie Carragher.