A former Premier League referee has revealed why Liverpool forward Sadio Mane wasn't sent off during the Reds' 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Senegal international, already on a booking, handled the ball while on the ground after Neil Swarbrick failed to award Mane a free kick despite the former Southampton winger appearing to be fouled.
Selhurst Park was eager for Mane to be given a second yellow card and his marching orders but Palace fans were left fuming as he escaped further punishment.
And former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher believes Swarbrick lost his concentration and failed to give the yellow because he was caught in two minds over the decision.
He told Sky Sports, as quoted by the Daily Star: “I think the easy thing is to give a free kick to Mane there to be honest.
“I think that’s what it should have been in my opinion and if it had of been a free kick for Liverpool it would have all gone away and I wouldn’t be sat here talking to you now.
“But, if you watch the situation, Neil’s gone to the point, Mane goes out the back door and he’s got lost.
“I think in all that the referee loses a little bit of focus on who’s done what. But when you see it he’s quite clearly flicked the ball away from Townsend and (Yohan) Cabaye who would have had a chance to advance on goal. The expectation really was a second yellow card.”
As things turned out, Mane stayed on the pitch, having scored the equaliser earlier in the game, as Mohamed Salah netted a late winner to earn Liverpool all three points.