Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has explained why the half-time whistle was blown early after Sadio Mane raced through onto a pass from Xherdan Shaqiri in Liverpool’s clash with Manchester United.
Jurgen Klopp was fuming as the referee called a holt to proceedings just as Mane raced through on goal with 55 seconds of the one additional minute having been played.
Most Liverpool fans will probably also feel this was unfair, but was it technically against the letter of the law?
Mane was through ?? pic.twitter.com/VqXfe6HaFl
— ?™? (@AniUTD) January 17, 2021
Writing in his Daily Mail column, Clattenburg described the incident as “One moment of slight controversy and it came right on half-time.”
The veteran whistler went on to explain: “One minute of added-time was shown and the TV clock indicated 55 seconds had been played when Tierney blew his whistle with the ball in the middle of the pitch.
“He wanted play to finish in a neutral area, as is standard for referees. The problem was, in a split-second, Liverpool played a ball over the top and Sadio Mane was looking to get away on goal.
“Technically, Tierney should have waited until the minimum of one minute had been played.
“He was helped by the fact Mane and United defender Victor Lindelof then stopped playing, so we do not know what would have happened next.”
“But I would not criticise Tierney for this incident. He had a very good game, it’s just a shame we didn’t have that real intensity.”
Klopp didn’t make much of the incident at full time, but he appeared to sarcastically applaud the match official as the players headed down the tunnel during the interval. It certainly could have been a flashpoint as Liverpool could well have taken the lead. Given that the match ended 0-0, this early whistle may have saved United from the jaws of defeat.