Ryan Mason demands explanation as Diogo Jota avoids red card for challenge on Tottenham midfield Oliver Skipp


Tottenham’s acting head coach Ryan Mason demanded an explanation from the Premier League as to why Diogo Jota was still on the pitch to score a dramatic stoppage-time winner in Liverpool’s 4-3 victory at Anfield.

Jota pounced on Lucas Moura’s mistake to score for Liverpool, 99 seconds after Richarlison thought he had completed a remarkable Spurs comeback from 3-0 down.

At 3-2, the Portuguese substitute avoided a straight red card for a high boot on Oliver Skipp, which left the Spurs midfielder bleeding from the head and Mason afterwards fuming at referee Paul Tierney and the VAR, David Coote.

"I would like an explanation and a reason why it wasn’t [a red card]," Mason said. "I can understand referees and officials on the pitch missing it even though my feeling was an instant red card because when your foot is studs showing and you’re five-and-a-half feet off the ground and make contact with a player’s head and draw blood, and there is a gash, I think it ticks all the boxes.

"Probably more so an experienced referee in the VAR room, you want him to help the official on the pitch in that moment. Listen, it’s decided the game because that player on the pitch shouldn’t have been on there at the end decided the game. I’m pretty sure most football people’s opinions will probably feel the same."

Mason appeared to suggest to the fourth official that being had Anfield had influenced Tierney’s decision to only show Jota a yellow card and, asked if he felt the stadium was a factor, he added: "I feel like those questions are not for me.

"I felt like we didn’t get that decision, it was a big decision, a crucial decision and one you can’t really miss. I find it hard and impossible to really understand why. Of course we’re just so disappointed because we came here today and created so many chances. On another day we win it with ease in the way we played today but the Premier League’s relentless, you have to be ready every single game to fight and we helped Liverpool."

Liverpool raced into a 3-0 lead inside 15 minutes through goals from Curtis Jones, Luis Diaz and a Mohamed Salah penalty, raising the prospect of another humiliating Spurs away day following last weekend’s 6-1 defeat to Newcastle.

But the visitors rallied, and Harry Kane pulled a goal back in the first half and Heung-min Son made it 3-2 with 13 minutes remaining.

Spurs had twice hit the post in the second half before Richarlison headed home Son’s free-kick to spark wild, but short-lived, celebrations.

"It is hard to put into words to be perfectly honest," Mason said. "How the game went and obviously equalising at the end, fully deserved. To gift them the winner at the end is impossible to take at this minute.

"It is just hard to think of any positives at the moment. We know with the ball we are an exceptional team, we can score goals and hurt anyone in this league with the ball, but you don’t just win games just with the ball and when you literally give the opposition four goals without having to earn it, it makes it very difficult.

"At the same time we probably could have scored three of four more. I felt like we were probably the better team overall in terms of creating opportunities, but to give the opposition goals it makes it difficult to win games of football."

Controversy: Oliver Skipp was felled by Diogo Jota’s boot (PA)
Controversy: Oliver Skipp was felled by Diogo Jota’s boot (PA)

Asked for his overriding emotion, he added: "Disappointment, anger so much emotion going through my body and everyone’s body at the moment. Not only the players in the changing room but staff, I’m sure fans at home as well because the manner we conceded that last goal off the back of equalising at the end is just hard to really put into words."

Spurs were wide open as Jones and Diaz finished from close-range within the opening five minutes and Salah converted from the spot after Cristian Romero’s lunge on Cody Gapko.

"Obviously [at 3-0 down] I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of fear," Mason said.

"Because to concede three goals in 15 minutes is not a normal situation. We have to understand that the Premier League is relentless. It’s relentless for 95 minutes. It always has been and it always will be. If you’re not ready for a five- or 10-minute spell, then the game can get away from you. We’ve seen that in the last couple of away games. To go 3-0 down away from home, it makes it near on impossible to win a game, so it’s hard to understand why. We addressed it and we’re fully aware of it but it’s something we need to be better at, that’s for sure."