“Sour grapes” Brendan Rodgers Defends His Referee Criticism


Brendan Rodgers has defended his criticism of the officiating in Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Thursday, whilst former Premier League referee claimed his comments “smacked of sour grapes”.

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Friday, August 9, 2013: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during a press conference at Mansion House ahead of the preseason friendly match against Glasgow Celtic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers was frustrated at a number of incidents missed by referee Lee Mason and his team of officials, including a very bad offside decision against Raheem Sterling, and number of possible penalty claims.

The Northern Irishman questioned the Football Association’s decision to appoint Mason, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, to referee a game involving a Manchester team.

Poll, writing in his column in the Daily Mail, said, “For Brendan Rodgers to bemoan a referee from Bolton officiating a Manchester team smacks of sour grapes and should result in an FA charge.

“I thought that Rodgers was a more considered manager than that, but perhaps a whiff of recent success has affected his attitude.”

Speaking in his press conference at Melwood today ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea this Sunday, Rodgers stood by his comments over Mason and his appointment.

The Reds boss could face charges by the FA, but Rodgers maintained he had complete respect for the men in black.

“I think it [the FA investigation into his comments] is something that happens. I was only speaking honestly at the end of the game,” Rodgers is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.

“Obviously I was emotional, but the FA and the referees know I fully support them. I ask my staff to be respectful, so we don’t chase officials down the line.

“So they know that when I make a statement like that, I was speaking honestly. I think it was continuous through the game.

“I have to speak on behalf of supporters. These supporters have an emotional investment.”

Rodgers also sought to clarify his comments regarding the choice to appoint a referee from Greater Manchester in a match involving Manchester City.

He added, “In terms of geography, I wasn’t questioning anyone’s integrity. I was questioning the logic.

“How many [Liverpool] games has Mike Dean from The Wirral refereed?

“My team was brilliant, confident and consistent in their attitude. We had no support.

“We will reflect on the performance and move on. If you look at my record I have never had any indiscretions. I don’t play games.

“’I’m sure that is something I will look at. I fight my corner but I always have respect.”

Liverpool now travel down to Chelsea for their final game of 2013 on Sunday afternoon.

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  • Jev_LFC

    Sour grapes?????? Just how many decisions must Liverpool suffer at the hands of totally inept officials!!!!??????

    • Gano1

      This is the issue!!!!……………………Poll is protecting his mates!!!

    • rubyrm

      No Not inept. The referees are are just a “considered lot”. Rodgers isn’t

      • Jev_LFC

        Not inept? What the F would you call it? Bad day at the office? They were UTTERLY INEPT.

      • Mustafa Yilmaz

        Forget all the other decisions… Sterling TWO yards ONSIDE! MY gran called it ffs

  • Karun Jung

    hell yea, i am with u all the way Brendan. Respect.


    “I thought Rodgers was a more considered manager than that, but perhaps a whiff of recent success has affected his attitude” What a condescending statement.Graham Poll obviously thinks he’s the Refs version of Mourinho.
    He confuses sour grapes with the truth.If we played Man United when SAF was the manager and we had officials who came from Liverpool making decisions.He would throw his toys out the pram and moan to everyone that would listen.The media most likely would agree with his point too.
    When Rodgers says it, the media are quick to label him as a sore loser!

    • rubyrm

      The Pole should shut it. Between agree with your comments.
      A new word is born “Considered Manager”

      • Jev_LFC

        Maybe in your mind.

  • CARR71

    so some no mark (mr poll)who was paid to do the job for years by the fa and alex needs a few quid why give this tosser air time

  • Lancashire Blue

    I agree it was poor decision but to try and intimate that it was deliberate warrants a touchline ban and more. It is comical to try to claim a penalty for shirt pulling. I watch Skrtel at every corner and he could easily give a penalty away every corner.
    All this shouldn’t detract from what was a great game and by far the best game at the Etihad this season. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.

    • Gano1

      City got lucky 3 times on the spin against Liverpool, fact!!!

      • Lancashire Blue

        Unfortunately I was at the fantastic game and didn’t see every decision in slo mo from every angle, like the ref. Amazing how many people sitting round me thought you had the ref in your pocket. I suppose it depends on if you win or lose.

        • Gano1

          Thank the Lord Demichelis didn’t play against Raheem Sterling, nobody catches him once he’s away!!.

          • Lancashire Blue

            The only player we have that could catch him was too busy running the other way at your defence. Jesus and then Moses on the pitch at the same time, awesome.

    • gora-gora-xabi-alonso

      True, as I’ve said above, I’m not overly impressed when managers look to blame the officials, but you have to admit that the Sterling offside decision was outstandingly bad. No doubt that decision has clouded BR’s interpretation of some of the other decisions on the night. The officials are only human but so are the managers and in such a big game with emotions running high, we should be prepared to cut them some slack as well.

      • Lancashire Blue

        I do not think it is fair to stick a mic in the managers face moments after the game has ended and ask leading questions that will get him in trouble. He has got you playing great football to watch. I sincerely hope you have more luck at Chelsea than we had.

        • gora-gora-xabi-alonso

          We are the *sporting* story of the premier league so far. I don’t begrudge City their success, everyone needs money to be successful in football these days and every fan wants to sign the big names. I’ve got good friends who are City fans and if anybody deserves it for their loyalty and humour over the years they do. However it is still a fact that those resources are obscene especially when you consider where they come from. You are paying guys well over the market rate to play for City. I think that’s why a lot of City fans wanted to keep Mancini. He provided the sporting context to your success, building a team and giving the players the belief to win the title. Now he is gone thier

          • Lancashire Blue

            I have watched city for over 50yrs. I can assure you that this is by far the best period. I have done my time through the crap. Owners, managers and players come and go but we are still here and will always be. As far as paying over the odds welcome to the club. Theonly way you can get and keep top players out of the top 4 is overpaying. Suarez is not staying for love.

      • Jev_LFC

        If the F officials are only human then why are they not subjected to the same criticism?????? BULLsh1t

  • Gano1

    Too right!!!

  • rubyrm

    Poll is a moron. He thought that Rodgers is a “considered person”. Why would a manager consider for the referees when they fucked up big time on decisions that went awry and could cause the club millions in term of qualification for CL.
    Consider that Pole.???

  • Zanatos

    Sums up how the reffing world view things to me. They don`t care if there mistakes cost other teams points, and possibly millions, as long as no one dares say a bad word about them.

    What Rodgers said was spot on. No Sour grapes there, just the truth. I would support other managers to who said the same thing when/if it happens to them.

    He kept it respectful, but also kept it to the truth. What does Poll want? Rodgers to lie and say it was very good to appoint a ref from the same place as the team playing and both the Ref and Linesman were brilliant? Come on Poll, get with it.

    • Gano1

      Hear hear!!!

  • Zanatos

    Just throwing this out there. I am glad we have goal line tech now. Logically though, it is impossible for a linesman to be able to look in two places at once (place ball is kicked from and further up the pitch where the runner is and defense). Surely in today`s world of super tech someone could come up with something to replace the linesman. They get it wrong hundreds of times a weekend, which aint really there fault as such due to the fact what they are asked to do isn`t humanly possible, therefore every call they make has some guess work in it.

    Why not try to remove all guess work from Football and move it to modern times, where teams win due to being the best, not due to errors.

    • Jev_LFC

      Um in Rugby which plays just fine a 5th official can review decisions on the fly via wireless communication. How about we have that in Football too? Just a thought!

  • gora-gora-xabi-alonso

    Not usually impressed by managers blaming the officials, but that offside was so poor last night, you can understand Rodgers’ frustrations. Mason has previous against us, though, I seem to remember he wore a Fulham shirt in an away game against the Cottagers when Rafa was manager.

  • Rederik

    The F.A should listen to men like B.R after all is it not better for them as a organisation to insure the refereeing is fair than become the laughing stock of the footballing world.

  • Keith

    The officials had a shocker for sure, but Skrtel’s shirt pulling accounted for a fair share of those. I honestly think BR made those comments about refereeing just to divert
    attention from some of the mistakes we made in the game. He’s not stupid; there were decisions missed on both sides and he’d know it. Rather than have criticism thrown for individual mistakes, this is just a method to divert press coverage. Fergie and Mourinho do this all the time – to protect their players. Too much being made of this

    • John

      I see what you mean, mate, I really do, but shirt pulling happens all the time and if refs gave every instance of it all games would be filled with penalties. My query isn’t with the penalty shout, but with some of the other decisions. Granted, I’m biased, but I can’t think of other decisions that went AGAINST City barring Skrtel’s behaviour. There’s no real reason to defend the players in this instance, because while errors were made (and they ARE in an openly played big match; every time), liverpool fans have every right to be proud of their performance. We played very well, and were unlucky (in fact, had rules been enforced correctly, we probably would have got something out of the game).

      I actually think people have latched onto the only questionable call Rodgers referred to (the shirt tugging incident) when there were several more obvious mistakes made during the match; the offside call we can all agree was criminal; a couple of fouls leading to the first goal, and Lescott blatantly ignoring the ball and kneeing Suarez on the edge of the box, which, as the BT Sport simulator worked out, was actually a penalty.

      I emphasize I get you, mate, but in this instance only, I don’t believe Rodgers did it to protect his players; I think he did it purely because the mistakes WERE hugely against us.

    • Jev_LFC

      Explain how Suarez got a yellow for literally brushing his hip against the keeper and Zabaletta remained on the field???????

  • Keith

    Graham Poll talking about attitude!!! ha ha

  • napsuta .

    Why is the Professional Game Match Officials
    Limited (PGMOL) a closed shop? Why is this important part of EPL answerable to
    no one but themselves?

  • Abyss

    Guys, I don’t believe in the referee from Manchester bias personally, but that offside decision in particular was shockingly poor. City does end up getting rub of the green when it comes to their home venue. There were other less blatant offside decisions given that were in their favor vs Arsenal as well. Suarez was probably a little hard done by as well with the yellow card.

    • Zanatos

      Problem is, and this includes for us too, that from my experience the top level teams do get the rub of the green from Refs and Linesmen. It might not be a intentional bias, but I am certain it happens. I am sure us, City, Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal all get more in our favour when playing the bottom teams. That is something which should be looked at by the F.A in depth as it isn`t right.

      In this game, the officials made a lot of mistakes, for and against us in my view. The Ref as a whole didn`t seem biased to me, the linesmans poor call for the real clanger of the match.

      I saw throwin`s being given to us when we knocked it out of play and vise versa. Overall the standard was poor imo.

  • Zanatos

    That is the F.A for you. I don`t think there is any conspricay at play, rather just how poor the F.A are at running anything.

    • Joe Thomas

      Exactly, just endless inconsistencies.. For instance, how does Wilshere get a two match ban for an incident identical to the one the one in which Suarez received a one match ban and Rooney went unpunished for..

    • allaboutanfield

      I think the F.A should watch the replay and realized that BR’s comments are clearly justified.

  • allaboutanfield

    Clearly the referee and linesmen decision making was very poor not only for Liverpool but also for Chelsea. If Sterling’s goal was allowed to stand results would have been very different.

  • Abyss

    Good points both Zanatos and Joe. There’s a reason why certain guidelines like these should be followed when choosing a ref. I always wondered if refs are allowed to referee matches involving the club they support. Perhaps there should be some kind of check involved there as well.