Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was lucky to avoid a red card. Referees can’t bottle these decisions just because it’s early in the game, says Mark Halsey

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Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was lucky not to see red after just six seconds against Chelsea in yesterday’s all-action clash at Stamford Bridge.

Referee Anthony Taylor made a subjective decision when Mane caught Cesar Azpilicueta in the face.

But on another day, the Reds front-man could easily have been given his marching orders at Stamford Bridge.

Mane led with his forearm before he flattened Azpilicueta. Taylor felt it was worthy of a yellow card and VAR official Darren England decided it was not a clear and obvious error.


The on-field official deemed it was a reckless use of the arm by Mane rather than serious foul play.

However, had Taylor issued a red card then it would not have been overturned by VAR.

The time of the incident should not come into the decision-making of a referee – whether that is in the first or last minute of a game.

Taylor must have had a doubt in his mind not to show the red card, but it was a very lucky one for Liverpool on the day, while Chelsea can feel aggrieved as the Senegal international later went on to score the opening goal.

Elsewhere, Trezeguet should be embarrassed by his act of simulation in Aston Villa’s loss at Brentford.

Trailing 2-1 in injury-time, the Villa winger tried to deceive referee Craig Pawson in a bid to win a penalty.

Trezeguet’s actions were poor when he dramatically threw himself to the ground after a slight touch from Sama Ghoddos.

The Egyptian screamed out in pain and clutched his face following minimal contact and I’m sure his manager Steven Gerrard will be disappointed with his conduct.

Simulation is a problem and we need to eradicate it from our game. We simply don’t want it.

This is a prime example of where the Football Association must take retrospective action and hit Trezeguet with a one match-ban.

If no action is taken then all we are doing is to encourage more players to follow suit.

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