Dermot Gallagher believes that the officials got one big call wrong during Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Reds were trailing 1-0 with 15 minutes of normal time remaining when Jordan Ayew – who’d previously been booked – was shown a second yellow card for impeding Harvey Elliott on the halfway line.
Speaking on Sky Sports News‘ Ref Watch segment on Monday morning, the former Premier League referee believes that the Ghanaian’s foul wasn’t worthy of the second booking which saw him depart prematurely.
When asked if there was enough on it to warrant a yellow card, Gallagher replied: “I thought not. All I can think is the referee thinks Ayew is breaking a promising attack, which he’s not.”
Taking the incident in isolation, Ayew knew he was doing in tripping Elliott, and it probably warranted a yellow card in and of itself.
However, the first booking Andy Madley had shown to the 32-year-old – for stopping Virgil van Dijk from taking a quick free kick – was harsh, so the referee had made a rod for his own back by the time the Palace attacker committed the offence which saw him given his marching orders.
Neither incident seemed like much to merit him being sent off – even combined they were no worse than Cristian Romero’s stamp on Callum Wilson yesterday, which saw the Tottenham defender shown yellow rather than red.
Some may argue that, having already booked him, the referee could’ve let Ayew off with a final warning for the foul on Elliott, although then he might’ve faced questions as to why he didn’t give a yellow card which would’ve been warranted more than the first one he’d shown.
The rights and wrongs may continue to be discussed, but what’s beyond doubt is that the Ghanaian’s dismissal was a turning point on Saturday, with Liverpool seizing upon the one-player advantage to score twice and salvage victory from the jaws of defeat.