John Aldrigde: Howard Webb cost us again and should not referee Liverpool FC any more

“We are all human and all make mistakes but major mistakes happen far too often with Webb in Liverpool games”, Reds legend lets rip at official after controversial FA Cup exit

I was still angry about Howard Webb’s woeful decisions from the Chelsea game in December. I was still furious that he didn’t award a penalty when Luis Suarez was brought down in the area – and seething that he failed to send Samuel Eto’o off for a career-threatening tackle on Jordan Henderson. So the events of Sunday afternoon at the Emirates Stadium left me raging.

I called it before the Chelsea game and I called it ahead of the Arsenal match at the weekend: Webb gets too many big decisions wrong. He gave us a penalty when Suarez was clipped by Lukas Podolski but then, for reasons nobody in the country can understand, he failed to award a spot-kick when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain clattered into Liverpool’s No 7. It was more of a penalty than the one he gave!

I thought Brendan Rodgers showed real restraint and composure to describe the incident as mildly as he did, especially on the back of the Chelsea debacle less than two months earlier. How many of these wrong decisions does Webb have to make before action is taken? For a start, he should never referee a Liverpool game ever again. The Reds can go back in the archives and use a long list of games to help state their case.

When he refs us, we do not get the big, big decisions and with Liverpool chasing at least the top four, we must hope he does not officiate our games between now and the end of the season. Howard Webb costs us. Plain and simple. People are going on about Steven Gerrard being ‘lucky’ to escape a second yellow card but it was never a booking.

Podolski committed six fouls and didn’t even go in the book. I’ve been watching football for 50 years and have seen many refs make mistakes. You can live with that. It is the hardest job in football and it is very easy to jump on referees’ backs. That is perhaps why the club have not taken it any further. But everyone is today questioning Howard Webb.

Many had forgotten about the two Eto’o incidents but this can’t be pushed to the sides. I was actually astonished when he awarded the first penalty at Arsenal on Sunday. I was sat there wondering: ‘Maybe he’s had a change of heart and we’ve turned the corner with Webb.’ But that proved wishful thinking on my part.

If an Arsenal fan had been in charge of that game, even they would’ve had to give a second penalty. Webb, England’s referee headed for the World Cup in Brazil this summer, has made himself look foolish. To be fair to Webb, he was a whole 10 yards away and only had a clearcut, unhindered view of the incident! But seriously, he can have no excuses for the decision.

And that is part of the reason why he hasn’t come out and explained himself. I would love to hear what he has got to say because there is no defence for that. We are all human and all make mistakes but major mistakes happen far too often with Webb in Liverpool games. So why can’t he come out in front of the cameras and explain his decisions? The only reason I can think he could possibly come up with is that his sight has gone! Liverpool have officially been ‘Webbed’ yet again.

Plenty of positives for Reds
CRAZY refereeing decisions aside, there were loads of positives to come from Liverpool’s game with Arsenal. It would have been great to book a quarter-final tie with Everton and great for one of the city’s teams to be playing at Wembley in the semis. So it hurts that we have been denied that. But the Reds will reflect on their performance and know that they completely dominated the game from start to finish.

Unfortunately, defensive errors again made it hard for us. We go into every game, especially away from home, knowing that we need to score two or three times to win. Liverpool are playing great, open football but the first goal we conceded on Sunday was calamitous.

Our home form should look after itself in the final six matches at Anfield but we have got to become defensively mean away from home if we are going to consolidate that fourth place. Liverpool have the ability to finish higher than that and I believe Arsenal are there for the taking. But we have to eradicate the silly errors to get the full benefit from the great work the team is doing further forward. There’s nothing wrong with a 1-0 win!

None over the eight

I WOULD have loved for Daniel Sturridge to have broken a club record we share with Dick Forshaw. All three of us have scored in eight consecutive matches for Liverpool and Daniel looked set to make it nine on Sunday at Arsenal. Unfortunately it didn’t quite come off. As strikers, we all have off days when it just doesn’t go right for you.
Sturridge was bitterly disappointed at the end of the game but all he needs to do is make sure he keeps getting in those scoring situations. He makes great runs and stretches opposition defences this way and that. Daniel has made the decision to try and go round Lukasz Fabianski and it’s not come off. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.Fabianksi, by the way, was man-of-the-match on Sunday; he was brilliant.

Time for Swan song

LIVERPOOL must approach the Swansea City game in exactly the same way they did for their last two home games. The Reds were electric against Everton and Arsenal and there is no reason why that should be any different on Sunday against the Swans. Liverpool only have 12 games left this season. They are all cup ties and every single one of them is massive. And because of that we cannot take anything for granted.

Swansea are only four points outside the drop zone and so are looking nervously over their shoulders. But I remember them coming to Liverpool last season and playing brilliantly.Liverpool must be at their very best because within their grasp is fourth placed finish, at the very least. There are big games going on around them this weekend as well and let’s hope Everton can get a result at Chelsea.
World apart

IF Luis Suarez was looking for any consolation from Sunday’s infuriating game at Arsenal, then there was one crumb of comfort. The Uruguayan striker will not have to deal with Howard Webb refereeing any of his group games in the World Cup because his side are in the same group as England!

Posted by on Feb 18 2014. Filed under Featured, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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