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On Fire, Mark Clattenburg ignites controversy after Taylor controversy

Liverpool have had more than their share of refereeing controversies this season.

By Charles Cornwall

Liverpool have had more than their share of refereeing controversies this season.
Liverpool have had more than their share of refereeing controversies this season.
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In a somewhat unusual turn of events, former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has openly criticized current referee Anthony Taylor for his inconsistent penalty decisions during recent matches involving Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Clattenburg's critique comes in the wake of a contentious game at the City Ground where Nottingham Forest fell to Newcastle 3-2, with Bruno Guimarães netting the decisive goal just past midway through the second half.

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The controversy sparked when Forest's Taiwo Awoniyi, formerly of Liverpool, was toppled in the penalty area by Newcastle's keeper Martin Dúbravka. Despite the clear contact, Taylor dismissed Forest's penalty appeals and his decision remained unchallenged by VAR, much to the chagrin of Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Clattenburg, who stopped refereeing in the Premier League in 2017, argues that Forest had a stronger claim for a penalty than Liverpool did in a similar incident involving Diogo Jota and the same Newcastle goalkeeper last month. He wrote in his Daily Mail column: "Just last month, Liverpool were awarded a penalty at Anfield when Diogo Jota was judged to have been tripped by Newcastle’s Martin Dúbravka," adding that "the decision was awarded in real time."

"The referee that day? Anthony Taylor, who did not award Nottingham Forest a penalty when Taiwo Awoniyi was tripped by the same keeper. It was 2-2 at the time and Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo was right to say this was the moment of the match. Awoniyi had more of a case than Jota. The raised right arm of Dubravka made it impossible for him to stay on his feet, yet Forest got nothing."

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Final comment

Adding fuel to the fire, Clattenburg also chastised VAR Tony Harrington for not intervening and allowing Taylor to rectify his error. He expressed sympathy for Forest fans who feel aggrieved by what they perceive as biased treatment favoring the Premier League's top teams. The denied penalty proved costly for Forest as Newcastle's winning goal was scored just three minutes later, marking yet another contentious decision in this Premier League season."It was a clear penalty, I saw it over and over again, for me it is a clear penalty." He further questioned the VAR's role, stating: "I think Anthony Taylor maybe doesn’t have a clear view of the incident because it is from behind but when you have the chance for VAR to check it, I think it is so obvious, that is why I don’t understand the decision."

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