Roy Hodgson was left bitterly disappointed with the decision to award Liverpool a penalty late in the first half that ultimately paved the way for their 2-0 win against Palace.
The Eagles boss saw his team nearly go into the half-time break level but for a soft spot-kick award that saw Mohamed Salah go down inside the box, and the Egyptian was also involved in the game’s other flashpoint which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka shown a straight red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Palace pushed until the end and only conceded the second to Sadio Mane after committing men forward for a corner, but Hodgson believes the key decision came at the end of the first half which undeservedly sent his team into the interval trailing.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Eagles boss spoke about a number of issues from the game, including:
Liverpool’s penalty: “It wasn’t a penalty. I’ve been in football a long time, and if that is a penalty then the game has changed beyond all recognition. Mamadou [Sakho] is trying to defend and there is no way he is looking to foul the player [Salah] or get contact on him at all.
“If people can’t see that then I’ll be the pariah who sees only what he wants to see, and if all you guys see it as something different then I’ll accept it. I don’t want penalties for my team in that way – if you ask me one day ‘was it a penalty’ and I don’t say that those situations aren’t penalties both for and against, then I’ll be very disappointed in myself and you’ll be quite entitled to take me up on it.”
Decisions not going Palace’s way: “I’m frustrated because I don’t think that’s a penalty. I also don’t think it was a foul on James Milner [which led to Patrick van Aanholt being booked] when we had a counter-attacking chance, and I do think it was a penalty in the last minutes when Max Meyer gets wiped out in the area by [Virgil] Van Dijk when he was about to get a touch on the ball, but these things happen.
“Sometimes refereeing decisions go against you and it’s disappointing and a cause for frustration and anger, but if you ask me about the team’s performance I think it was very, very good.”
“I take some comfort and pride in that, but it’s not going to change my disappointment and anger at how we came in at half-time losing 1-0.”
Wan-Bissaka red card: “It’s one of those things. We were pushing to get an equaliser, playing quite well, looking reasonably likely to get a goal and were asking questions of the Liverpool defence, but then from a ball lumped forward we didn’t win the header and we were light at the back.
“Aaron did his level best to try and get back in and stop Salah from going free with the goalkeeper. He definitely touches him so there’s no question it was a sending off, but I don’t think he was looking to clip his heels – he was genuinely trying to get his foot on the ball but didn’t succeed. As a result he caught the player and the referee was right to send him off.”
Positives: “Our target is to improve and get better, and make sure we’re not looking over our shoulder all the time from the relegation zone upwards. From the first two games I’ve got to be satisfied with what the team has shown, but but’s far too early to say if that will last for the next 36 games.
“We’ll have to wait and see and pick ourselves up after this disappointment because it’s a frustrating and bitter way to lose in the way we have lost today. I don’t think we gave away a penalty, and Liverpool didn’t deserve to be leading 1-0 at half-time because of a penalty.”