Former Chelsea hero Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took Jamie Carragher to task over a controversial early decision in the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool came away from Stamford Bridge with a point despite having gone two goals up. Sadio Mane gave them the lead after capitalising on an error from Trevoh Chalobah. Then, Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage with a clever finish at the near post.
Chelsea though fought back before the break with well-taken goals from Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic to claim a draw.
However, the game’s most controversial moment came just seconds in when Mane caught Cesar Azpilicueta with a nasty elbow. The incident earned Mane a yellow card, but plenty of observers felt the incident was worthy of a red card.
Liverpool legend Carragher than caused a stir by defending referee Anthony Taylor’s decision.
“I think it’s one of those that’s worse than a yellow, but I don’t think it’s quite a red,” he told Sky Sports.
To which Hasselbaink replied: “Are you serious? Have you got your red hat on or just your football head on?”
Jamie Carragher hits back
Carragher grabs Hasselbaink by the arm and replied: “There was another VAR check on Mason Mount that wasn’t a red card either.”
After the game, Azpilicueta also was certain the challenge should have left the visitors with 10 men.
“We are getting these decisions against us and it can change the way of the game.
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“We are promoting the challenges in the Premier League with 50-50 with the ball. Sometimes we are seeing a joke of penalties and sometimes we see real dangerous challenges and we don’t take action.
“We are seeing a few games where referees become a bit softer in terms of penalties and red cards and then it becomes opposite.
“We don’t see the same consistency in the same game and same season. I watched the replay but I didn’t need this because live I knew it was a red.”
Pep Lijnders sends Salah, Mane message
Had he been sent off, Mane would have been forced to serve a three-match suspension for violent conduct.
As it happens, Liverpool will be without Salah and Mane anyway by the time their next fixture comes around due to AFCON.
Some clubs have tried to block their African players taking part, but Lijnders feels the attacking stars have earned their opportunity to shine on the international stage.
Impressed by their efforts against Chelsea, stand-in boss Pep Lijnders wished them well for their upcoming excursions. Furthermore, he thinks his side will be able to cope without them.
Lijnders said: “We have many different weapons. They [Salah and Mane] are incredibly important because they give us face, they give direction in a game and they give us desire.
“I wish them all the best in the Africa Cup of Nations. Everyone knows how it feels to play for your country. They have the right to fight for each prize as it comes.”
Meanwhile, in another interview, Lijnders confirmed Klopp would still be in quarantine for the Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal on Thursday.