LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 23, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota appeals for a penalty after being brought down by Crystal Palace's goalkeeper Vicente Guaita during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool fans bemused as referee ‘stood down’ after Palace penalty

To say the penalty awarded to Diogo Jota at Crystal Palace divided opinion would be an understatement, but now the referee who awarded it has been stood down to Reds’ bemusement.

In the final game before the break, Liverpool walked away from Selhurst Park with all three points and the final few minutes were without stress thanks to Fabinho‘s penalty conversion.

But Jota was the man who was under the spotlight as he miskicked his attempt on goal and subsequently fell to the ground after Vicente Guaita connected with the No. 20.

Immediately the forward had his arms up asking for the decision but referee Kevin Friend waved it on, only for Craig Pawson on VAR to direct his colleague to the pitchside monitor.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 23, 2022: Referee Kevin Friend consults the VAR monitor before awarding Liverpool a penalty in the 89th minute during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He would change his mind, as is often the case when footage is reviewed by the onfield official, and controversy then ensued as many failed to agree on whether it was a penalty or not.

But the aftermath has seen Kevin Friend “stood down” from the next round of Premier League fixtures, as per the Times, who describe the incident as “one of the most controversial of the season.”

But Pawson, on the other hand, has avoided being left out having been named to referee Watford‘s visit to Burnley in what is the only Premier League game over the weekend.

And the news of Friend was met by bemusement by Liverpool fans who can certainly think of one incident that required greater scrutiny than it received:

The decision making is just as inconsistent in the headquarters as it is on the pitch. We did ask for consistency, just not for officials to be consistently inconsistent.

And let’s remember, the penalty came when Liverpool were 2-1 up with minutes left so it did not change the outcome of the game even if it did make Reds breathe a little easier.