It’s not the first time that John Arne Riise has scored an own goal for Liverpool this season. Back in January, the Norwegian put the ball through his own net away at Luton in the FA Cup, can he make it a hat-trick before the season is out? Anyway, according to Rafael Benitez in The Guardian, the full-time whistle should have ‘peeped’ well before the Chelsea equaliser.
In fact, the referee appears to be squarely to blame as far as the Liverpool manager is concerned. Apparently, he made a number of decisions against the home team as well as adding far too much injury time on at the end. Was it inevitable that the arbiter would cop some flack from at least one team?
The disgruntled Spaniard said: “It’s difficult to understand. There were 94 or 95 minutes and every decision went against us. All the corners, free-kicks and fouls. But, in the end, it was an own-goal. It’s not the first time. We knew before the game it was going to be difficult [with this referee]. Against Marseille it was more or less the same. You can’t blame the referee for the own-goal at the end but the time? One minute in the first half, four in the second. It’s difficult to explain.”
Benítez also had cause to bemoan the referee for a push by Ashley Cole on the goalscorer Dirk Kuyt inside the Chelsea penalty area, an offence that went unpunished by Plautz. “The first four fouls against us were for pushing,” he added. “I saw one of their players pushing with two hands in the penalty area and nothing given. I’ve seen too many things tonight but I don’t want to say too much.”
You’ve already said plenty Rafa! It’s clear that much of his frustration is down to the fact that it’s now a tall order if Liverpool are to qualify for their third Champions League final in four seasons. It’s been a long time since they won at Stamford Bridge, with them needing a 1-1 draw simply to take the game into extra-time. Any hope for the Reds?