The first game of the weekend was Newcastle vs. Liverpool and boy was that painful to watch. There’s nothing too much that was positive to say about the game. Well, Pardew actually got some cheers so there’s that. Two big plays that kind of dictated the game were two fouls on Liverpool players. Both fouls were yellows but see for yourself if you agree.
First foul by Moussa Sissoko on Joe Allen in the 49th minute.
Second foul by Daryl Janmaat on Mario Balotelli in the 63rd minute.
Both fouls should’ve been straight reds. Someone could’ve gotten away with this in 1974 but not in 2014. I know Balotelli has gained the reputation for diving but a referee’s responsibility is to consistently and correctly call the game. The fact that someone dives should be irrelevant in terms of what card the offender gets. What exactly is Andre Marriner thinking with those calls? Does he need to see bone sticking out of someone’s leg to give a red? Sissoko was nowhere near the ball and went studs up into Allen’s leg from behind. That’s a textbook red! On Balotelli, Janmaat follows through on a kick as if he’s going to strike from 30 yards out. The ball was in the vicinity so it can be somewhat argued that it could be a yellow but it’s still a dangerous challenge that can easily be called a red as well.
This isn’t to say Liverpool were cheated out of any points. Their performance was far from world class and Newcastle deserved the 3 points. Having said that, the lack of red cards there did change the outcome of the game. And in a situation where a referee gives yellow cards like Halloween candy and gives red cards like it’s solid gold, that lack of consistency can cause a referee to lose the script of a match very quickly.