Ranting Dalglish sees red over referee's 'joke' decisions

Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 1

anfield

For the 11th time this season, Liverpool failed to win at Anfield and for the 11th time Kenny Dalglish sat in what was once the boot room and is now a press centre and talked of luck, frustration and refereeing decisions.

Aston Villa were pummelled relentlessly by a side that finished with four specialist strikers. If you count the move that led to Luis Suarez's late equaliser, Liverpool struck the frame of the goal four times, taking their tally for the season to 27. When the referee, Michael Oliver, signalled the end, James Collins's muscles and those of the rest of his back four would have ached like those of a boxer who had spent too many rounds on the ropes.

Dalglish was in no mood to claim a moral victory. After six defeats in seven matches, Liverpool needed real wins. The frustration was unbearable; he denounced Oliver for failing to award a penalty when a ball appeared to strike the arm of Villa's American defender, Eric Lichaj, and for booking Suarez for diving.

If it was pointed out to Dalglish that Lichaj had his back to goal when the ball hit him and that Suarez possesses a serial offender's form for falling to the ground, he was in no mood to listen. A month's worth of defeats does that to a manager.

He claimed that Oliver had told Dirk Kuyt that Lichaj had been "unlucky". "I have never seen a penalty given by a referee when he said a boy was unlucky," Dalglish said. "What chance have we got?

"Suarez was booked for diving and their guy [Stephen Ireland] trod on him. That is a joke because you can imagine the headlines tomorrow. He has been booked for diving and he is lucky he has not broken his foot.

"There have been an awful lot of coincidences if you go over the last three games and the number of decisions that have not gone our way.

"The danger is that paranoia will set in and you think there is an agenda against our football club. When you are refused a penalty because the referee thinks your opponent was unlucky, then what can you do? We have integrity but maybe we are going about it the wrong way. Perhaps we should shout our mouths off and complain about things."

Since a fortnight ago Dalglish had sat in the same room and claimed that Suarez's punching of the ball into the net should have been allowed, maybe paranoia is stalking the corridors of Anfield. Liverpool were unlucky, not in the non-award of a penalty but because they battered their opponents and emerged with a point. However, once more they failed to make superior resources tell.

That they were facing one of the few Premier League sides that could claim to be in worse form than themselves could only have made the bruise more livid. This was a contest between two animals baring their gums at one another and it was Aston Villa who bit first.

Pepe Reina's dismissal at Newcastle meant that this was Alexander Doni's first game of the season and when he flapped at a cross from Stephen Warnock it seemed it would not be worth the wait. Barry Bannan played it incisively to Chris Herd, who swept his shot into the net beneath the Kop. The game was 10 minutes old and the young Australian had scored his first goal for Villa.

Thereafter, Doni was barely troubled, although the same could not be said for Shay Given. The Irishman made any number of remarkable interventions, deflecting Kuyt's sliding shot on to the post in the first half and later trying to deal with Steven Gerrard's crosses which, in the words of the Aston Villa manager, Alex McLeish, were "undefendable".

One was met by Suarez who possesses an astonishing leap for a small man. The ball struck the post and scooted across the face of the goal before Given pushed it away. In between all this, Kuyt had somehow contrived to miss from two yards.

The breakthrough came with eight minutes remaining. Craig Bellamy had just skimmed the post and then another superlative cross from Gerrard was headed against the crossbar by Daniel Agger and nodded in by Suarez. It seemed justice of sorts had been done, although Dalglish begged to differ.

Liverpool (4-4-2): Doni; Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique (Agger 76); Henderson, Gerrard, Shelvey (Bellamy 65), Downing (Carroll 65); Kuyt, Suarez.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Given; Hutton, Collins, Baker, Lichaj; Bannan (Carruthers 86), Herd, Ireland, Warnock; Heskey (Gardner 58), Agbonlahor.

Referee Michael Oliver.

Man of the match Collins (Aston Villa).

Match rating 7/10.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence