Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces FA action, and a possible disrepute charge, after complaining about referee Lee Mason in the wake of his team’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Mason, who did appear to make errors on a number of key decisions against Liverpool, is based in Bolton which is technically in the county of “Greater Manchester.”
Bolton is never considered to be part of the city of Manchester but that did not prevent Rodgers from implying that Mason is from “Manchester”.
“We had no help whatsoever from the officials,” said Rodgers after seeing his team lose top spot in the Premier League.
“I thought they were horrendous. We had nothing go our way at all. I was surprised we’re playing in Manchester with a referee from Greater Manchester. I didn’t think we got any decision go for us.
“Hopefully we don’t get a Greater Manchester referee again in a Liverpool-Man City game. I will ask the question [of the FA].
“I don’t think we would get someone from the Wirral [across the River Mersey from Liverpool] refereeing a Liverpool-Man City game.”
Rodgers was specifically angered by an incorrect offside flag that brought back Raheem Sterling when he was clean through on goal, by a trip on Luis Suarez on the edge of the area and by a failed Suarez penalty appeal.
“I thought on the offside, the linesman wasn’t even on the same cut of grass,” said Rodgers. “If you are working at this level, you’ve got to get it right.
“There was another incident in the second half when Luis didn’t get a free-kick on the edge of the box when Joleon Lescott came right through him and you can argue there was a penalty at the end. Luis can’t jump because he is tugging at his shirt.”
Despite their problems, Liverpool took a deserved lead through Coutinho before City ended the half with a flourish and goals from Vincent Kompany and Alvaro Negredo to move above their opponents and into second in the Premier League table.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who has previously set his side the target of being in top place at the turn of the year, may now see that instruction come to fruition although he also found grounds for complaint.
His side now face a fixture against Crystal Palace on Saturday — only 48 hours after the Liverpool contest — while key title rivals such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool themselves have an extra 24 hours recovery time.
“I’m not talking about having to play so many games because it is the same for all the teams,” he said.
“But I think we should have at least 72 hours [rest] from one game to another. I’m not talking about Manchester United but all the other teams at the top of the table play 72 hours after. At this stage, we play so close [together], the rest of the teams must be the same.”
Given City’s current form, especially at the Etihad Stadium where they have a perfect 100 per cent record to date in the campaign, Pellegrini’s concerns seem ill-founded and the City manager appeared relatively relaxed over the issue of whether his side will start 2014 in first or second in the table.
“We will see what happens,” he said. “The last game we have to play here [in 2013] is against Crystal Palace in less than 48 hours but Arsenal have a tough game also, against Newcastle.
“And it is just half the Premier League [season]. The second half will be very close with five or six teams competing for the title.”