Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool boss Rodgers will pay for 'Manc ref' remarks after defeat at City

Brendan Rodgers has put himself on collision course with the FA after questioning the appointment of a Greater Manchester referee to officiate the fixture against Manchester City.

The Ulsterman was indignant about Lee Mason's performance, with the wrong decision to rule out a Raheem Sterling first half goal one of number he felt contributed to a "horrendous" performance from the officials. "I was surprised we were playing in Manchester and we have a Greater Manchester ref. I'm not sure what it was about," he said.

Rodgers then declared that he intended to raise this with the referees' assessor in the next few days.

"Hopefully we don't have a Greater Manchester referee again when we play a Manchester team. I'm sure for Liverpool v Man City we wouldn't get anyone from Wirral being the ref."

Rodgers' claim that Luis Suarez should have won a second half penalty was less justifiable.

His comments may bring a rap on the wrists or a charge from the FA, who will assess whether they constitute an implication that Mason was "motivated by bias" or "called into question the integrity of a match referee". Mason (42) is actually from Bolton, within the Greater Manchester conurbation, but Chris Foy, from St Helens, does not referee Merseyside fixtures.

Mike Dean, from Wirral, was withdrawn from the 2006 FA Cup final when Liverpool played West Ham.

In terms of his side's performance, Rodgers felt they acquitted themselves well against a team favourites for the title.

"The level of our game was high, we had chances and we didn't take them," he said.

"They were outstanding and really took the game to a top side full of top European players.

"We are disappointed not to have won the game, never mind losing the game.

"We showed great confidence and belief, scored a wonderful goal and could have had a few more but there are things to learn from the goals we conceded.

"I was here at the Bayern Munich game when they were outstanding (beating City 3-1) and apart from that every other team City have played here they have scored a hatful of goals.

"I think people go away and look at us as a team that is hopefully going to be up there challenging.

"Our main intention is to set up camp in the top four. That is what the club has been striving for for a number of years.

"We have shown this year we are hopefully going to be up there and doing that.

"Performances like tonight and Tottenham (a 5-0 win) show we have the quality to do that."

City boss Manuel Pellegrini was satisfied with the way his side responded to going behind and then held off pressure from Liverpool.

"I am very happy with the response because it is not easy when you face such a difficult team, especially on the counter-attack when you are losing 1-0," he said. "I think today we defended very well."

City restricted 19-goal striker Suarez to very few chances.

"They did very well, especially against Suarez," added the Chilean.

"He is a great striker. He is in his best moment so it was very difficult for our team not to lose one second in the whole match."

City captain Vincent Kompany said: "The three points are massive, that's the hardest game so far. Liverpool are a good team so it's great for us.

"It's a weird (title race) because all the teams started a little slowly but now, I don't know how many wins we've had in a row but we can't grab that top spot."

Kompany enjoyed his battle with the Premier League's top scorer, Suarez, and said: "I loved every single minute, I live for those games.

"After the game we had a handshake – he appreciates the battle, I appreciate the battle, we won but it was a tough game."

And the City skipper added: "We would have liked to have penalties in this game too."

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