Barclays Premier League – 19th August 2007.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1
Record signing Fernando Torres scored his first goal for Liverpool in his Anfield debut, but referee Rob Styles was determined to grab the headlines away from the £18m striker and managed to do so with ease. His award of a penalty for Chelsea gave the London side an undeserved point (it was their only shot on target in the whole game) but was just one of many clangers made by the Hampshire referee and his officials today.
Following on from a defeat for Manchester United and with Arsenal only managing a draw the three points Liverpool deserved would have put confidence sky-high. Chelsea will know they were lucky to escape with a point.
Torres had limped off for the half-time break after Jon Mikel Obi had jumped two-footed onto his ankle. If Styles had seen that he might well have sent Obi off – but judging by his performance today he may have booked Torres for diving instead.
Styles’ decision making on bookings was poor – allowing John Terry to get away with pushing his forehead into Torres’ forehead, and seemingly trying to book Essien twice without sending him off. If Styles is allowed to referee any more Premiership games in the next couple of months it sends out the wrong signal to referees, players and fans.
Rafa Benitez was furious after the game, his normally calm exterior not there for once, slamming the penalty decision as “unbelievable”.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Pennant (Babel 68), Gerrard, Alonso, Riise (Crouch 83), Torres, Kuyt.
Unused subs: Itandje, Hyypia, Mascherano.
Goals: Torres 16
Bookings: Kuyt 30, Pennant 40, Gerrard 43, Carragher 61
Chelsea: Cech, Essien, Ben-Haim, Terry, A Cole, Kalou (Pizarro 46), Wright-Phillips (J Cole 77), Obi, Lampard, Malouda (Alex 85), Drogba.
Unused subs: Cudicini, Makelele.
Goals: Lampard 62 (pen)
Bookings: Essien 12Bookings: Essien 12, Cole 59, Ben-Haim 63, Lampard 70, Terry 74
“Referee”: Rob Styles