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5 Controversial Decisions Involving Liverpool and Referee Howard Webb

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentFebruary 17, 2014

5 Controversial Decisions Involving Liverpool and Referee Howard Webb

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Howard Webb's decision not to give a penalty to Liverpool for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's foul on Luis Suarez in the second half of Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool on Sunday wasn't the first time he's angered Reds fans.

    England's refereeing representative at this year's World Cup in Brazil, and referee of the last World Cup final in 2010, Webb's poor decisions against Liverpool are becoming something of a nasty habit.

    His appalling performances even brought about an FA charge for former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel in January 2011, when the Dutch winger posted a mocked-up picture of Webb in a Manchester United shirt on his Twitter account.

    The latest incident, denying Liverpool a second penalty of the game in the FA Cup fifth-round defeat at the Emirates brought about reactions of "disgrace" from Liverpool fans on Twitter.

    It prompted an angry but collected response from Brendan Rodgers too, as per the North Wales Daily Post:

    We’re bitterly disappointed not to get another penalty. It was probably more clear and blatant than the first one.

    The second one is clear. I’m not sure if it was just after (the first one being awarded), but it was a clear penalty. Luis got a touch on the ball and young Alex has taken him out.

    It was a strange decision. It was a penalty... and it was a clear one.

    On fair reflection, Steven Gerrard probably should have been sent off later for his second bookable offence when he brought down Oxlade-Chamberlain, but a coy Webb kept his cards in his pocket.

    Webb's atrocious decisions have cost Liverpool dear in recent years and here are five other decisions of his that haven't gone Liverpool's way when really they should have.

    Which was the worst? Leave your opinion in the comments section below.

Upton Park, April 2006

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Luis Garcia was denied an appearance in the 2006 FA Cup Final when he was shown a bizarre red card by Webb in a league game against West Ham the previous month.

    Garcia got into a tangle with Hammers midfielder Hayden Mullins, resulting in both trying to free themselves from the situation.

    In all, it was rather an innocuous incident.

    Webb saw it differently and gave both players their marching orders, meaning both were suspended from the cup final a few weeks later.

    Appeals to the FA by both clubs were unsuccessful.

Emirates Stadium, February 2010

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Abou Diaby's second-half goal had given Arsenal a valuable lead in an exciting encounter in which Liverpool should have snatched it in the final seconds.

    Deep into injury time, Gerrard's free-kick from 25 yards out was met by the outstretched arms of Cesc Fabregas.

    There was no two ways about it—Fabregas had blatantly reached for the ball to divert it from its path to the goal.

    As Arsenal fans drew breath and Liverpool made cries of appeals, Webb dismissed any claims and ended the game, bottling it when it mattered most.

    Gerrard was incensed after the game, quoted in The Telegraph as saying:

    The referee told the Liverpool wall in the first half that if anyone raises their arms above their waist he was going to give a penalty.

    So for some crazy reason he didn't give it. He told me after the game he hadn't seen it.

    It was unbelievable and I can't believe he didn't see someone raise their hands in the wall.

Old Trafford, March 2010

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Liverpool were on course for a memorable victory over their arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2009/10 thanks to a Fernando Torres header when Webb stopped the Reds in their tracks.

    Around 10 yards outside the penalty area, on a United attack, Liverpool's Javier Mascherano grappled with Antonio Valencia.

    Valencia flung himself into the penalty area, deceiving Webb, who should have given the foul some way outside the box.

    Again, bottling it under the pressure of the home crowd and unsure of his confidence in his own decision, Webb showed Mascherano a mere yellow card.

    Thrown Webb's lifeline, United went on to turn the game around and ran out 2-1 winners, much to the disgust of Rafa Benitez.

Anfield, May 2011

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    Webb's inability to understand where the penalty box starts and ends came to light again in 2010/11 when, in a rather meaningless last league game of the season between Liverpool and Tottenham, he gave a penalty against Jon Flanagan outside the box.

    Flanagan's shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with Steven Pienaar was dubious in itself, but like Valencia at Old Trafford in 2010, Pienaar's ability to make his way into the penalty area after contact deceived Webb again.

Stamford Bridge, December 2013

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    When Samuel Eto'o oddly decided to hack down Suarez in an off-the-ball incident late on in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Liverpool in December, Webb stared at the incident before gesturing for Suarez to get up and play on.

    It was a rush of blood to the head moment for Eto'o, but for Webb to be in a fantastic position to see it unfold and then not give a decision was baffling.

    Earlier in the game, Suarez had been used as a human climbing frame by John Terry—again with no reaction from Webb.

    Webb often does get it right, too—hence why he is a successful referee. His refereeing of Liverpool's 3-1 victory at Sunderland in September went without controversy.

    But this is the creme de la creme of football and decisions must always be watertight. If not, is there a good case for referees being accountable to more than just their employers at the FA?

    Sunday's decision at the Emirates brought about fresh rage from Liverpool fans and the football media over the incompetence of Webb, and unfortunately nothing that's being said now hasn't been said before.

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