Liverpool were left frustrated by a string of poor decisions from referee Martin Atkinson as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester.
The Reds were denied the opportunity to move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League on the back of Manchester City’s shock defeat to Newcastle.
Atkinson’s major blunder arrived in the 57th minute when he waved away an obvious penalty shout after Naby Keita had been clearly tripped by Ricardo Pereira.
This followed a questionable first-half decision to show Harry Maguire yellow rather than red after the Englishman fouled Sadio Mane as Leicester’s last man to deny the forward a run on goal.
An angering display was somewhat capped when Atkinson blew up for a foul on Georginio Wijnaldum rather than allowing Liverpool an advantage, which would have seen Jurgen Klopp’s men threatening on the edge of their opponents’ penalty area.
Whilst the officiating was poor, the Reds were also guilty of a lacklustre performance as they struggled to play with their typical command and composure.
Fans took to social media to react to Atkinson’s role on the night…
— ParkTheBus (@MonsterAmongGoD) January 30, 2019
Really poor refereeing from Atkinson, stonewall penalty there. pic.twitter.com/5671p7eoKI
— . (@VintageSalah) January 30, 2019
Atkinson on such good form he gives Liverpool a free kick instead of playing the advantage.
— Jim Boardman (@JimBoardman) January 30, 2019
That's a nailed on penalty. Horrendous from Atkinson #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 30, 2019
Liverpool poor tonight. But Martin Atkinson was a disgrace. Keita clearly fouled in the box, Salah elbowed in chin in the box, and McGuire should have been sent off. Played 30 seconds over the 1 min added in 1st half despite no subs, injuries or stoppages.
— Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins) January 30, 2019
Disappointing. A few factors – We were poor. Leicester performed better than I have seen in a while – Atkinson and his goons were absolutely appalling. Still, 5 points clear.
— RedJay (@Red_JayOfficial) January 30, 2019
Gutted. We've dropped two there. But shocking absolutely shocking refereeing from Martin Atkinson.
But no complaints from Leicester. They done a job well.
Point gained on City as opposed to 3.
— smtm_lfc (@smtm_LFC) January 30, 2019
Atkinson wanted to be the centre of attention there… and he got his wish.
Right from the off he wasn't gonna give us anything. Turned down a red card and a stone wall pen.
Can't say anything about it though…
— Craig Gribble (@c_gribbs) January 30, 2019
Martin Atkinson should be embarrassed by his performance tonight. Two appalling decisions in Not giving Keita a penalty and failing to send Maguire off.
— Scott Groom (@ScottCGroom) January 30, 2019
Atkinson needs to be questioned on why that wasn't a pen. No obstructed view. It's blatant.
— liverpooIstuff (@liverpooIstuff) January 30, 2019
Martin Atkinson played a part tonight. Coulda been a red another day for maguire, coulda been a pen against Keita. Annoying how we went ahead so quick and then couldn’t get max points after City losing. Still 5 points clear though. #LFC 🔴
— Matt Hankinson (@MattyHankinson) January 30, 2019