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Last-minute penalty call showed ref Michael Oliver’s ‘character’ – Kyle Walker

Oliver opted not to give Liverpool a late penalty in Sunday’s draw with Manchester City.

Carl Markham
Monday 11 March 2024 19:47 GMT
Manchester City’s Kyle Walker has praised referee Michael Oliver (John Walton/PA)
Manchester City’s Kyle Walker has praised referee Michael Oliver (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker praised referee Michael Oliver for not “crumbling” in a fierce Anfield atmosphere and giving a last-minute penalty to Liverpool.

Jeremy Doku’s chest-high challenge to clear the ball in the 1-1 draw saw him catch Reds midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, but Oliver saw nothing amiss and VAR ruled it was a normal collision.

Jurgen Klopp said it was “a penalty for all football people on the planet”.

However, Walker hailed Oliver’s character and experience in withstanding the pressure.

“I feel the ref did really well. Once you have the Anfield crowd behind them, he could’ve have crumbled,” he told Sky Sports.

“But that shows his experience, shows his character and that’s why he is regarded as probably one of the best referees in this country and the world at this minute.

“The VAR has checked it, the ref has done it. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher claimed there would have been less fuss had Oliver awarded a potentially match-winning spot-kick.

“I think there would be less argument if it was given as a penalty. If you give it, there won’t be much talk about it,” he told Sky Sports.

“It raises lots of dilemmas.”

The draw left City in third place, a point behind leaders Arsenal, but with the Gunners next up in the league at the Etihad they remain in the hunt for an unprecedented fourth successive title.

Midfielder Rodri believes they will have to win at least nine of their remaining 10 matches but insists they are up for the challenge.

After Arsenal there are potentially-tricky tests against Aston Villa and Tottenham – also at the Etihad – but, as the draw at Anfield was only the second time they have dropped points in the league since mid-December, the Spain international is confident they can put together another winning run.

“We need a break. We have the FA Cup game (against Newcastle) and then go to the international teams, so it will be good for us to refresh and give the last push at the end of the season,” he said.

“We know how good we are in the last part of the season, we just need to charge the batteries again and focus on the last 10 games.

“It seems you have to win nine or 10 games to win this Premier League. This is the challenge and we are going to go for it.”

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