Neil Warnock accuses referees of big club bias after Palace vs Liverpool controversy
Liverpool were awarded a controversial penalty at the weekend
Neil Warnock has criticised referees Kevin Friend and Craig Pawson for awarding Liverpool a controversial penalty against Crystal Palace at the weekend.
The Reds secured a 3-1 victory at Selhurst Park, with goals coming from Virgil van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho.
However, Liverpool's third goal - a spot-kick converted by Fabinho - was extremely controversial, with Friend reversing his initial decision to point to the spot in the 89th minute following Diogo Jota's collision with Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
A number of people criticised the decision made by both Friend and Pawson (VAR), and Warnock says the pair 'let themselves down massively' and questioned the competency of referees in general, claiming they let the 'top clubs get away with murder'.
With the Eagles trailing 2-1 to Jürgen Klopp's side when the penalty was awarded, it was a critical point in the match. While Friend did not initially give a penalty following the collision, he reversed his decision after looking at the pitch-side monitor.
After watching several replays, the referee pointed towards the penalty-spot - with Fabinho emphatically converting his spot-kick.
😡 “Top clubs get away with murder.”
❌ “These refs know the laws inside out but they do not know the game.”
😤 “I could tell after one look it wasn’t a penalty! That’s not clear & obvious!”
Neil Warnock slams refs Friend & Pawson for giving #LFC a penalty vs #CPFC. pic.twitter.com/Dw3eqZQVVO
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 24, 2022
Speaking to talkSPORT about the decision, Warnock said: "They get away with murder, the top clubs. On Sunday I thought it was a great opportunity for a referee to actually do the good thing.
"But with Kevin Friend I turned to my son and said, 'well that’s a penalty then if he is doing it'. He said, 'it can’t be dad' and I said, 'just you wait'.
"They looked at it 40 times and then called Kevin Friend over. As he was going I’m saying to William, 'he’s got to show what’s between his legs now. He’s got to go over and say I think my decision is right.'
"If he had done that, the credibility referees would have got. Instead they are doing that. He goes over and changes his mind to the worst decision."
The former Palace boss also suggested that referees 'know the rules inside out' but have 'no idea about the actual game'.
He added: "Anybody who has played the game - and that’s where these lads come up wrong, as Shankly used to say, 'these guys know the rules but don't know the game' - on situation likes this I think it’s got to have someone who has played the game in there with VAR as they don’t understand.
"They don’t understand how players react. They are good 90 per cent of the stuff and they’re two good referees in general but when it comes to something that you’ve got to have played the game, they let themselves down massively.
"They know the rules inside out but no idea about the actual game and how it evolves. It’s supposed to be a clear and obvious error.
"If you can’t tell, I could tell after one look that it wasn’t a penalty having played the game. If you can’t tell after 15-20 chances that that’s not a penalty there is something wrong."
Liverpool's hard-fought victory against Palace saw them slightly close the gap on league leaders Manchester City, who were held to a 1-1 draw against Southampton on Saturday night.
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