While many made the dangerous mistake of touting Sunday’s crunch fixture between Manchester United and Liverpool as a goal fest, what played out was typically the complete opposite.
Liverpool dominated possession but never really threatened, while United relied on the counter-attack that has seen them so devastating away from home this season, though bar a couple of chances, never really got going either.
It was a game without many major talking points, though there was one just on the stroke of halftime…Well, just before halftime…
With six seconds left of added in time in the first half, referee Paul Tierney blew up as a ball was clipped over the top to Sadio Mane. While saying he was through on goal would be a big exaggeration, given both he and Lindelof stop pretty quickly, the frustrations on Liverpool’s part are very understandable.
Were Liverpool denied a golden chance against Man Utd?— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 18, 2021
Dermot Gallagher feels referee Paul Tierney was wrong to blow up early for half-time ? pic.twitter.com/z8WoOihVmv
Now former Premier League ref Mark Clattenburg has attempted to explain why Tierney blew up early in his Daily Mail column.
“He wanted play to finish in a neutral area, as is standard for referees,” Clattenburg begun.
“The problem was, in a split-second, Liverpool played a ball over the top and Sadio Mane was looking to get away on goal. Technically, Tierney should have waited until the minimum of one minute had been played.
“He was helped by the fact Mane and United defender Victor Lindelof then stopped playing, so we do not know what would have happened next.
“But I would not criticise Tierney for this incident. He had a very good game, it’s just a shame we didn’t have that real intensity.”
Jordan Henderson touched on the decision to blow during his post-game interview, saying that Liverpool players were left disappointed at being denied what could have been a golden opportunity.
“Yeah, we weren’t happy about that, as you can imagine.
“Strange, very strange, you know I think he’s through on goal if he doesn’t blow, we were frustrated at half-time. There was still plenty of time for us to score the goal, but again just lacked the quality in the last bit.”
Both sides will face off again on Sunday, in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Viewers will be hoping for a much more lively affair this time round.
Featured image credit: Getty