The real-time disintegration of Roy Hodgson continued after Crystal Palace’s crushing 2-1 defeat against Liverpool. The 76-year-old coach railed with a certain bitterness and a good deal of sadness at everything from Jordan Ayew’s second yellow card, the interpretation of the handball law to fourth officials who try to stop coaches from stepping out of their technical area. “I’ve been in football a long time,” he said, “and games like today make me realise that when the day comes to leave it behind, I won’t be missing anything.”
Palace were harshly treated by the referee, Andy Madley, who issued eight yellow cards to the home side, including one to Hodgson. “We’re talking too much about the referees,” Hodgson told TNT Sport, before going on to talk for several minutes about the referee. “I am absolutely sick of the handball interpretations, the yellow cards for time-wasting.
“I’m not a great lover of VAR but what I really don’t understand is we’ve got a referee who gives a clear penalty for the first one and decides to change it and then gives no penalty and decides to change that. So who’s refereeing the game? Anyway, I’m in a bad mood.”
Ayew’s second yellow card changed the game and Hodgson took the opportunity to criticise the role of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in the dismissal. “Van Dijk took the opportunity to get him the first yellow card by kicking the ball against him [while trying to take a quick free‑kick],” he said.
“That’s very disappointing for a player of Van Dijk’s quality and status in the game. The second yellow I thought was a good challenge and even if it was deemed a foul it wasn’t a yellow card offence.”
For all Hodgson’s exasperation and apparent fatalism, many Palace fans will not be sad to see him take his leave sooner rather than later. But he urged patience despite a run of five games without a win. “We’re going through a bad spell but I’ve never had any worries about the team. We have to get players fit again and if we’re able to add in January that will be helpful too. But this group will be able to keep this club in the Premier League.”
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Jürgen Klopp, for his part, was happy enough. The Liverpool coach has been at the top end of this game for long enough to know that sometimes you just have to seize, shamelessly and ruthlessly, something you have not earned.
“I know we were lucky,” he said. “What we did from 76 to 100 minutes, that was really good. Before then, we deserved nothing. We had no acceleration, we had no timing.
“I know it’s tough, these boys play an awful lot of football and sometimes the inner enemy is a bit louder. I saw a lot of boys struggling with that so we changed things from the bench.”