Former Premier League referee Keith Hackett has praised Michael Oliver’s handling of the incident which saw Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta have to be restrained by their backroom staff.
The Arsenal manager reacted rather erratically to a pretty innocuous challenge from Liverpool’s Sadio Mane on Takehiro Tomiyasu which ignited chaotic scenes in the dugout between the two coaches.
“I thought it was handled really, really well. You don’t want that to happen, you know there’s passion and the odd word can be misconstrued and we don’t know what was said. It sparked a very physical clash,” the 77-year-old told Football Insider.
“Firstly, there’s no doubts Oliver is our best referee. He had an outstanding game. The way he handled this, what’s grown in recent years is his maturity. He remained neutral, he didn’t overreact. It was absolutely brilliant, textbook.
“He is a world-class referee, there are no doubts. His self-control was brilliant. Sometimes you can pile in. He didn’t jump in with red cards, he went through the right process which was a public warning.”
Both managers were shown yellow cards for their actions and after the game Klopp told reporters he was ‘sick of these situations’ in which coaches attempt to influence the decision making of officials.
The former Evertonian’s actions appeared to spark the Anfield crowd into life as we went on to fire four past the Gunners and earn all three points.
Being the man in the middle isn’t an easy job so it’s nice to see some praise for the officials rather than the usual criticism.