Rodgers asked to clarify Mason comments

Liverpool manager described referee’s performance last night as ‘horrendous’

Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers his Manchester City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini watch last night’s match. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers his Manchester City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini watch last night’s match. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

 

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been asked for “his observations” following his recent comments about referee Lee Mason, the Football Association has confirmed.

Rodgers questioned the decision to appoint Mason to his side’s St Stephen’s Day Premier League defeat at Manchester City because he is from the Greater Manchester area.

The Reds boss had been frustrated by a number of decisions made by Bolton official Mason and his assistants during the 2-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium.

An FA spokesman said: “We have contacted Brendan Rodgers to seek his observations in relation to his post-match comments made following the game at Manchester City.”

Rodgers has until January 2nd to respond to the FA’s request.

The FA will then consider whether any further action is necessary.

Rodgers could be warned as to his future conduct or hit with a financial penalty if found guilty of any charge.

Rodgers has insisted his remarks were not intended as an attack on Mason’s integrity.

The Co Antrim man feels he was making a valid point about where Mason is from and indicated, as he met the press to preview Sunday’s game at Chelsea, that he would stress that to the FA.

He said: “I was only speaking honestly after the game.

“I think the FA and the Referees’ Association know perfectly well I am someone who engages in supporting the referees.

“I am not on that berates referees at all after games, I always respect them. I ask my staff to be respectful.

“In terms of geography, I certainly wasn’t questioning the integrity of referees.

“It was more the logic of it in terms of having a referee from that part of the world refereeing a game in Manchester.

“I wouldn’t suspect that Mike Dean, from the Wirral, has refereed many games for Liverpool over the years.”

Dean, incidentally, was dropped from officiating at the 2006 FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham for geographical reasons.

Rodgers, formerly manager of Watford, Reading and Swansea, believes he has maintained high standards of behaviour throughout his career and his post-match comments were delivered in a calm, considered manner.

He said: “I think if you look at my record since I have been a manager, I have never had any indiscretions whatsoever.

“I never get involved in that way of working, I don’t play games.

“I am sure that is something they will look at but I will always fight my corner.

“That is the type I am, and always will be, but I respect the authorities. We will see what happens.”

Rodgers was certainly not willing to backtrack on any of his complaints about the decisions he had issues with.

Liverpool’s primary source of frustration was an incorrect offside call in the first half when Raheem Sterling was clean through.

Luis Suarez was also denied a free-kick on the edge of the area and a penalty after clashes with Joleon Lescott later in the game.

Rodgers said: “I think it was continuous throughout the game — the decision-making being poor. I think there was evidence of that.

“I have to speak on behalf of the supporters of this club — this club is an emotional investment for many millions of people throughout the world. As the manager I represent them.

“I am sure wherever they were throughout the world they would have been asking questions on the decision-making. I repeat, I didn’t think it was so good.

“My team was brilliant, confident, creative and consistent in their attitude in the game but we had no help whatsoever.”

City’s victory knocked Liverpool from the top of the table down to fourth.

But the Reds more than matched the title favourites and threatened their 100 per cent home record more than any other side this season.

Philippe Coutinho gave them a 24th-minute lead before Vincent Kompany and Alvaro Negredo replied before half-time.

Aside from the controversies, Liverpool had other chances to respond, most notably when Joe Hart saved well from Coutinho and Sterling blazed over from close range.

Rodgers said: “We went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in Europe. We take great confidence from that.

“When you miss the chances we missed, and play as well as we did, it is disappointing not to get a result.

“That was a big statement from us.”

The task is now to maintain those standards against another title challenger at Stamford Bridge.

Rodgers said: “At this moment in time we are just focusing on the next game and that is all we have done during the course of this calendar year.

“That has served us well. Let’s see where it takes us.”

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