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Blaming Correct Offside Decision For Loss Unseemly

By suggesting a correct offside decision is partially to blame for Liverpool's failure to take all three points on Sunday, manager Brendan Rodgers embraces a victim mentality while undercutting the club's very real grievances with poor officiating.

Stu Forster

Beyond the small matter of trying to secure points with Liverpool still stuck in the bottom half of the table, Sunday's match marked manager Brendan Rodgers' first return to face Swansea after spending two seasons as their manager. As might have been expected, a return to the place he called home for two years meant some mixed feelings for the new Liverpool manager.

"It was an emotional return," said Rodgers. "I have seen so many people I shared great moments of my life with. It is a fantastic place to come back to. It was a very good game. We played really, really well and created chances, but this is a difficult place to get a result."

Though with Liverpool struggling to move into the top ten with the season over a third of the way done and a crossbar and disallowed goal meaning the club returned to Merseyside with only one point instead of all three, Rodgers' post-match concerns would quickly move beyond the chance to reconnect with some familiar faces.

"We were unfortunate with the offside goal we had ruled out," he claimed. "That was a goal, I have seen it on the replay. However, we are eight games unbeaten and we are chipping away and our method was good today."

Perhaps it would have been a welcome change for the manager to see Liverpool the beneficiaries of a questionable call for once, and in a world where the benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the attacking player it might not have even been very surprising had the goal stood. However, the unfortunate reality for Rodgers and Liverpool fans is that replays showed Enrique was indeed ever so slightly offside.

Given some of the decisions that have gone against Liverpool so far this season, it is perhaps not especially helpful for the manager and fans to complain that a "bad" call cost them two of the possible three points when it was demonstrably not the wrong call—just a very, very tight call. Given how close it was, one could have easily understood if Rodgers had thought it incorrect live. After the fact and claiming to have seen replays in the meantime, however, makes it more difficult.

The officials may not always get things right—and at times this season they have seemed to instead get things quite clearly wrong more often than not where Liverpool is involved. Yet to insist that any and every decision that doesn't go the way the club might prefer is poor officiating only undercuts the very real grievances the club has had in the opening months of the 2012-13 season.

Bad calls should indeed be called out, but an unthinking victim's mentality won't help Liverpool moving forward. It's never less than unseemly to watch the likes of Arsenal's Arsene Wenger lash out at a cruel and conspiratorial universe when his side fails to achieve the desired results, and last season under Kenny Dalglish Liverpool's obsession with missed chances and the woodwork helped to obscure the fundamental personnel and tactical issues that were hurting the club's chances.

On top of all Liverpool's very real problems—from the frequently, demonstrably poor officiating that has at times cost the club through to a frustratingly self-inflicted striker crisis—there is little to be gained by adding a dash of delusion to the mix.

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