Did Lazar Markovic deserve his controversial red card? According to the player he struck, he definitely did…
Lazar Markovic deserved his controversial red card that all but ended Liverpool’s Champions League hopes. That’s according to Behrang Safari, the player struck by the Serbian’s flailing arm.
Liverpool were trailing 1-0 when Markovic – a half-time substitute who had impressed since his introduction – threw a stray arm in the direction of Safari, who promptly went down clutching his face.
But the Basel star, who was quoted by the Guardian, said his conscience was clear. “I wouldn’t have gone to ground if he hadn’t hit me. I am not the kind of player who dives,” the Swedish international told reporters.
“It was a bit strange, I didn’t realise that it was a red card at first. I thought the referee had blown his whistle because it was a head injury and I thought I was going to give the ball to the Liverpool players afterwards. But then I noticed that the Liverpool players were angry with me.”
When asked whether Markovic’s flailing arm had hit him, he added: “Yes, yes of course. I was bleeding from my mouth.”
Steven Gerrard scored a late free-kick to make it 1-1, but Liverpool were unable to force the winner they need to secure progress beyond the group stage. Basel now go into the Champions League draw on Monday while we are back playing on Thursdays in the Europa League.
“To go through is huge,” said Safari. “It is not easy to come to Anfield and go through playing against Liverpool.”