Ex-ref in strange defence of Paul Tierney over “too dramatic” Cody Gakpo penalty

It was glossed over as Liverpool ran away 4-2 winners over Tottenham, but Paul Tierney made another glaring error in refusing a clear penalty for Cody Gakpo.

Had Liverpool not gone on to take a 4-0 lead and then, despite a Spurs comeback, take all three points comfortably, Micky van de Ven’s first-half trip on Gakpo would have been much more controversial.

Gakpo nicked the ball ahead of the Tottenham centre-back in the penalty area, before being brought down by his fellow Dutchman.

Tierney, refereeing his final game of the Jurgen Klopp era, had a direct view of the foul but decided to wave it away and urge play on – while VAR John Brooks opted not to intervene.

The decision was that Gakpo had made an ‘exaggerated fall’, which somehow negated a clear obstruction from Van de Ven.

Former referee Dermot Gallagher, who is effectively useless now in his role as Sky Sports’ referee analyst, was similarly adamant that Tierney rightly overlooked the foul.

“I think how he reacted sold it to the referee, to be honest,” Gallagher argued.

“He does get clipped, the referee’s very close and sees him go through the air like that, and I think that’s what convinced him not to give a penalty.”

Put to him that VAR could clearly see Gakpo was tripped, Gallagher replied: “They can, but don’t forget they have to go on what the referee says.

“So the referee says ‘this is why I haven’t given it’, you look at the pictures.

“He will say ‘I think he’s launched himself through the air’ – you look at that picture, you can’t really argue with the referee there.

“He’s in the perfect position and he waves it away immediately, says no.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Cody Gakpo of Liverpool scores a goal and celebrates 3-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

Asked whether it would influence a referee differently had he gone down less ‘dramatically’, Gallagher agreed that was likely.

“I actually think that, honestly,” he continued.

“How he’s gone [down] has convinced the referee that he’s launched himself through the air. Because the referee’s got a perfect view.

“If you look, the referee is as close as I am to you if you like, and he waves it away straight away.

“I think that sells it in his mind, that he’s gone to do it himself.”

Those alongside Gallagher in the studio – including ex-Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock – were left perplexed, with it then raised that an incident in the north London derby saw Dejan Kulusevski denied a penalty after trying to stay on his feet.

“I think on this occasion, for me the referee think he’s been too dramatic and that’s changed his mind,” he explained.

More ridiculous logic from the referees’ union. The sooner PGMOL is overhauled, the better.