Referee Analysis: Benfica 2-1 Liverpool

Benfica 2-1 Liverpool

Referee Jonas Eriksson definitely gave the home side some favourable decisions in the Europa League quarter final first leg on Thursday night…

6 mins: This is an obvious one: Javi Garcia’s leg was too high and it hit Babel’s head. The referee saw everything, but there was no free kick nor a yellow card. The game was stopped 12 seconds later due to Babel still laying on the ground.

29 mins: Just before Luisao’s foul on Torres. Babel pushed Ramires to the ground, but the referee didn’t use his whistle – if he’d done that, the game would be totally different. Small mistake, big impact.

29 mins: Probably the most controversial moment of the game. Luisao gets booked for a harsh foul on Torres. It’s a right decision, but some refs would show a straight red for something like that. Then Luisao starts screaming at Babel, Ryan touches his face twice and I believe that’s worth a straight red. Luisao should be booked again for having an agressive argument. And he does get booked twice, but remains on the pitch somehow! People are saying that Luisao didn’t see his first yellow card, so the second one was shown just to remind him about it. How come? It’s against the rules – if you show the second yellow, it’s a red. You can’t show cards like they’re leaflets, ref.

37 mins: Steve Gerrard’s cross went over Dirk Kuyt and David Luiz. Julio Cesar punched the ball to Torres, Torres scored. The goal was disallowed, because Kuyt was caught off-side. But according to the rules, you have to make impact to commit an off-side offence. Kuyt didn’t make any impact at all – the ball was too high for Luiz to reach and Cesar would punch it anyway. If Kuyt wasn’t there, the whole thing would look the same.

45 mins: The funniest yellow card I’ve ever seen. Insua gets booked for holding Pablo Aimar’s hand for literally half a second! Aimar couldn’t reach the ball so he stopped and demanded a free kick. Alright, it was a foul, but a booking…?

49 mins: This time the ref helped Liverpool. The ball hit Lucas’ hand in our penalty box. Funny fact – Lucas said it hit his face, ref said it went off his chest. He can’t even see the player’s excuse correctly.

58 mins: Benfica gets a penalty – correct. But how on earth did Insua stay on the pitch? He was already booked (harshly, but he was) and his foul deserved at least a yellow card. When Barcelona played Arsenal a day before, Puyol got a straight red for something similiar.

58 mins: Even before Cardozo touches the ball, there are two Benfica players in Liverpool’s penalty box. The penalty should be repeated. It wasn’t.

63 mins: A typical yellow card offence by Luiz, who was already booked and should’ve been sent off. Torres was about to cross the ball, but Luiz blocked him with his knee and stepped on his foot.

74 mins: Another unbelievable decision by the ref: Reina gets booked. His time-wasting actually took… 6 seconds. A different goal kick from the same game took him 22 seconds and he didn’t even get a warning back then!

79 mins: Yet again three referees can’t spot another Benfica player in the box while Cardozo takes a penalty. The referee, his assistant and the additional ref are blind. Fact.

81 mins: Luiz shouldn’t be on the pitch anymore, but he is. He’s fantastic man-marking on Torres produces another, quite terrible foul which deserves at least a yellow card. The ref thought Torres was diving and there was no sending off, not even a free kick for Liverpool.

Piotr Czernicki-Sochal

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