Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson says Andrew Robertson shouldn’t escape blame for conceding a late penalty against Napoli.
It’s fair to say Jose Callejon made the most of Robertson’s challenge inside the area to win the 82nd-minute spot-kick, which Dries Mertens converted.
Plenty of Reds fans have furiously pointed the finger at the flawed VAR system.
But though he agrees the penalty was soft, Lawrenson says Robertson was guilty of creating the situation.
“I am far from convinced it was a penalty for Napoli’s first goal – the first time I saw it, I thought it was the correct decision, but the more I see it the less I agree it should have been given,” he wrote in his BBC Sport reaction.
“But it was still a lazy challenge by Andy Robertson on Jose Callejon, which gave the referee the opportunity to award a spot-kick in the first place.”
Many would no doubt challenge that assessment – should we still be giving referees ‘the opportunity’ to make mistakes when we have the technology? – but Lawrenson did then offer a nuanced take on the defeat.
He said that, on the surface, mistakes cost Liverpool two goals, but that the game might actually have been lost in the final third.
“When Napoli scored their second goal in injury time, it killed the game completely, and Virgil van Dijk was obviously responsible for that.
“To concede from a mistake like that when they are in possession at the back is very unlike Liverpool generally, and Van Dijk especially.
“So two late errors cost Klopp’s side, but I don’t actually think they had been too bad at the back until that point.
“But it is not as if Liverpool struggled defensively for 90 minutes, and when Klopp analyses it, I am pretty sure he will think the biggest problem on the night was at the other end of the pitch.”
Had we converted at the end of that Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah 2v1 counter, it could easily have been so different.
Still, it’s not about dwelling, it’s a matter of learning.