“On another day, both might have seen red” – Mark Halsey has his say on Liverpool vs Man United incidents

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Liverpool climbed to the top of the Premier League table last night after emphatically beating Manchester United 4-0 at Anfield and continue their push for a quadruple, whilst United are left to lick their wounds. 

It was an emotional game all around after the news of the passing of one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s children but the game itself was played in good spirit and didn’t contain the heated emotion that many come to expect when these two sides play. Like any derby, however, there were a few incidents that arose during the 90 minutes and they all came in the last 10 minutes, whilst Liverpool were 3-0 up.

The main taking point of the match, from a disciplinary perspective, surrounded Naby Keita but there were also incidents involving Bruno Fernandes and Man United youngster Hannibal Mejbri.

Should Fernandes have seen red?

Speaking exclusively to Caught Offside, former Premier League referee Mark Halsey spoke about the previously mentioned incidents in detail.

“He caught him high on the knee. So, you could say had Martin Atkinson shown a red in that situation, I don’t think that would have been overturned”, stated the former official on Fernandes’ tackle on Trent Alexander-Arnold.

When speaking on Keita’s challenge, the English referee explained: “He’s clearly gone over the top of the ball and once again, he can count himself lucky that Martin Atkinson showed him a yellow card and not a red card. Had he shown a red card, once again, that wouldn’t have been overturned.”

Both incidents could have easily been a red and Halsey suggested so, saying: “Obviously on those two challenges VAR, didn’t see it as a clear and obvious error and subjective, as on another day, both might have seen red.”

Another player who made a bit of a splash last night was Hannibal Mejbri, who had a spirited cameo after coming on late in the game. The 19-year-old picked up a yellow in the 88th minute and continued to put himself about after.

Speaking on the incidents involving the youngster, Halsey said: “The one on Henderson’s a clear yellow card, reckless challenge and Martin clearly cautioned the player.”

“I think Martin got that [situation] right, it wasn’t a reckless challenge, it was a careless challenge and I think Martin done well to calm him down, called the player to him and give him a little word in his ear and tell him to calm down. So yeah, I didn’t think that Mejbri warranted a sending off”

“What we got to remember is, a careless challenge is a free-kick, nothing else. A reckless is a free-kick and a yellow card and a challenge that endangers a player’s safety with excessive force has to be deemed as serious foul play.”

As mentioned before, this game was unusually played in good spirit throughout and that probably comes down to this Man United team’s lack of fight, but those last 10 minutes saw two tackles that Mark Halsey explains, could have easily been red cards.


More Stories Bruno Fernandes Hannibal Mejbri Mark Halsey Naby Keita