Thomas Tuchel admitted that he was disappointed with referee Anthony Taylor’s decision to show Reece James a red card and award a penalty to Liverpool after seeing Chelsea’s 100% start to the season ended at Anfield.
Tuchel’s side had seemed on course to earn a third successive victory to start the new season after Kai Havertz’s brilliant header had given them the lead in the first half. But having come close to extending their lead, James was dismissed after appearing to partially block Sadio Mané’s shot on the stroke of half-time, with Mohamed Salah scoring the penalty to earn Liverpool a 1-1 draw.
However, Tuchel was critical of Taylor’s decision to consult a still image of the incident rather than a video replay. “I can understand the decision and I’m not saying it’s wrong,” said the German. “But I did not like the way the referee checked it because for me he checked only the image and the image showed the contact.
“We saw on the bench that it was a deflection from a short distance that came off his hip and the arm was not in a super unnatural position. I would have wished for a longer consultation – maybe he would have made the same decision. But we have to live with it.”
Havertz and the injured N’Golo Kanté were sacrificed at half-time by Tuchel as Chelsea dug in during the second half, although Liverpool rarely threatened to score a second goal despite dominating possession.“Suddenly the world is upside down,” added Tuchel.
“I cannot praise the team enough, I do not know if there is a harder stadium than City and Anfield to go one man down. For the last five minutes hopefully we survive and take a well-deserved point. The resilience and team-work was absolutely fantastic.”
Klopp, who said that Roberto Firmino was withdrawn before half-time due to a suspected hamstring injury, was adamant that Liverpool deserved their penalty but acknowledged that his side should probably have gone on to win the game after the sending off.
“It’s not always a massive advantage playing against 10 men, especially against a team like Chelsea,” he said. “There is a definite advantage in possession, you have to outnumber them and defend them really high, but the defensive structure changes in that case that they are only defending slightly deeper but they have eight players defending that area around the box so we couldn’t use that.”
Klopp added: “It was tricky and we could have done better for sure. I would have loved us to have a bit more greed and determination. But Chelsea put in a proper shift and we had to respect that so we take the point and carry on.”