Neil Jones has highlighted one important facet from Liverpool’s defeat to Tottenham on Saturday which has gone largely under the radar amid the vitriolic fallout from the spate of refereeing controversies which blighted the game.
One of those revolved around Curtis Jones’ dismissal for an over-the-top foul on Yves Bissouma, which initially yielded a yellow card from Simon Hooper before the referee upgraded it to red following a VAR review.
Many have argued that the Reds midfielder was hard done by, although the journalist spared a thought for the recipient of the challenge, with the Spurs player generally overlooked in the post-match discussion.
In his exclusive column with Empire of the Kop, the reporter wrote: “I think Curtis Jones is unlucky but it probably is a red card – it’s very unfortunate! You know he’s not trying to do what it looks like he’s doing on the still image; he’s trying to protect the ball and he’s gone over the top.
“It’s by the grace of God that Bissouma doesn’t pick up a really serious injury. So, when that happens, you have to accept a red card is probably going to follow.”
Amid the justifiable and necessary fallout from the officials’ ineptitude on Saturday, it seems to have been largely forgotten that Bissouma could have been badly injured by the Liverpool midfielder’s challenge, even if it wasn’t malicious.
An improvement to how VAR is operated is long overdue, and referees in general need to stop making the inexcusable errors which seem to crop up every week in the Premier League, but the welfare of players on the wrong end of firm tackles mustn’t be forgotten about either.
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Thankfully the Tottenham man didn’t suffer any prolonged damage from the red card incident, having gone on to play almost the full match before his 90th-minute withdrawal. We’ve seen previous challenges of a similar nature end up horrendously for the recipients, even if the tackle itself was innocuous.
The merits as to whether Jones should’ve been sent off for not will continue to be debated, but what everyone will agree upon is that we don’t want to see players getting seriously injured, and we’re all glad that Bissouma wasn’t hurt.