Keith Hackett has thrown his support behind Michael Oliver for his decision-making with regard to Sadio Mane’s challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu.
The incident sparked a touchline row between Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta, with the latter apparently furious with the nature of the tackle on his fullback.
“Again I thought Michael Oliver got it right. I didn’t see that as a serious foul play challenge. I thought it was reckless,” the former PGMOL chief told Football Insider.
“Yes, it’s a fine line but for me it was reckless. I think the match officials get it right.
“It’s good to praise a match official when they get it right.”
The German later clarified that he’d merely asked the Gunners boss what the Senegalese attacker had done wrong, as he was ‘sick’ of the ex-Southampton ace being targetted.
Having rewatched the clip in question, we can understand why the incident infuriated Klopp’s opposite number on the touchline in real time.
However, it’s equally clear that the moment hardly warranted any serious repercussions given that the 29-year-old was watching the flight of the ball (not his opponent) and that his elbow only appeared to make contact with Tomiyasu’s shoulder.
An argument could have possibly been made for a booking but the referee certainly made the right call to not hand Mane his marching orders.
You can catch a clip of the forward’s challenge below, courtesy of Canal+ and @annisasilvia:
Thisssss. Mané should’ve been sent off for the elbow on Tomiyasu. pic.twitter.com/UtvZQgBEL5
— Tara (@annisasilvia) November 20, 2021