Liverpool-Chelsea referee axed after penalty error 2007-08-21 08:48:41   Print

    BEIJING, Aug.21 -- English Premier League referee Rob Styles has been dropped from this weekend's matches after awarding Chelsea a controversial penalty in Sunday's match at Liverpool.

    Styles gave Chelsea a penalty when Florent Malouda went down despite minimal contact from Liverpool defender Steve Finnan and Frank Lampard converted the spot kick to give the London side a 1-1 draw at Anfield. "(Styles) looked at the video with the decision and he's admitted that he got it wrong," chief of referees Keith Hackett was quoted as saying on Sky Sports News yesterday.

    "I've left a message with (Liverpool manager) Rafa Benitez to apologize on behalf of the PGMO (Professional Game Match Officials) for the error," Hackett added.

    Benitez was incensed by the penalty decision that left Liverpool, which had taken the lead through a classy strike from Fernando Torres, in seventh place with four points from two games at the start of a season in which he is determined it win its first championship title since 1990. Chelsea is second with seven points from three games.

    Benitez and Blues coach Jose Mourniho were involved in a verbal spat after the fractious draw and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said he felt the referee had been intimidated by Chelsea's players and had "cracked."

    Mourinho defended his players by calling them "pure" before Benitez questioned that statement.

    After being told of Gerrard's comments, Mourinho said: "I think I have a naive team because we don't have divers, don't have violent people, nasty tacklers and don't have people diving in the swimming pool. Chelsea are a pure and naive team."

    Benitez told reporters: "You can check the team and see how many players they have that do things he says they do not do.

    "I don't like to give names but I remember situations in past years and today you can see players talking all the time."

    Benitez said he was upset to see his side miss out on victory because of a bad refereeing decision on a day when title rival Manchester United was beaten and Arsenal was held to a draw.

    Robin van Persie gave Arsenal an early lead at Blackburn but Rovers, who ended the game with 10 men after Ryan Nelsen was sent off, got a point when Jens Lehmann fumbled David Dunn's 25-meter shot into his net.

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger later accused Rovers of "violent" tactics.

    (Source: Shanghai Daily/ Agencies)

Editor: Wang Yan
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