Mark Halsey has criticised referee Anthony Taylor’s handling of Paul Pogba’s injuring tackle against Naby Keita in the second-half of Liverpool’s weekend meeting with Manchester United.
The official had initially flashed a yellow card at the offending Frenchman for his challenge, an award that was later upgraded to red card status after the 43-year-old was urged to reconsider his decision by his colleagues in Stockley Park.
“With the Pogba challenge on Keita, as soon as I saw it I thought it was a red card,” the former Premier League referee told Caught Offside.
“I was a little surprised Anthony Taylor initially showed a yellow card because I would’ve thought someone of his calibre would recognise that straight away, there shouldn’t be the need for a VAR check. He should be recognising the extent of that challenge – it was totally out of control, over the top of the ball, and endangered the player’s safety.
“It’s a good thing VAR overruled it, and he was correctly sent off.
“It was a clear and obvious error by Anthony Taylor.”
The encounter raised a number of concerns for the Guinean international who had to be stretchered off the pitch.
Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff will have undoubtedly breathed a sigh of relief when it became apparent that the No.8’s legs could support his weight in the aftermath of the historic victory.
However, it’s somewhat concerning that Taylor didn’t judge the foul to be serious enough to warrant a sending-off from the first look.
Nonetheless, we should remember – as Diego Simeone rightly mentioned in the wake of our 3-2 win in Madrid – that officials are just as capable of making mistakes as the players on the pitch.
Ultimately, the right decision was reached, albeit with the help of VAR, which will hopefully discourage a repeat of such a dangerous tackle from Pogba in future.