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Rodgers Lodges Official Complaint

Managers complaining about referees may be old news, but in this case Brendan Rodgers' grievances are based on a string of demonstrably poor decisions.

Alex Livesey - Getty Images

Following a pair of games that have seen almost every borderline call seem to go the way of their opponents, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has today contacted head of officiating Mike Riley to register his disappointment at what he sees as a lack of consistency in the officiating of Liverpool matches.

"I rang Mike Riley this morning," said Rodgers at his press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to face Norwich City, "and I think he was actually expecting me to comment a bit earlier. I just said to Mike, we have to be careful that we don't discourage people and players who are trying to respect the game.

"The players have been outstanding in their work. But us being a sporting team and going by the letter of the law and the rules, it just seems to pass us by in terms of decisions. We've had a few sendings-off, a few penalties given against us, and absolutely nothing that we've been given at all."

It's not exactly unusual to hear fans, players, and managers talk of feeling hard done by when it comes to refereeing decisions, but on occasion the number of questionable or even blatantly wrong calls that go against a club can seem to reach a sort of critical mass. For Liverpool, that point may have been reached on Sunday against Manchester United when the game was in large part decided by two major—and demonstrably poor—decisions by referee Mark Halsey.

In addition to string of minor calls that would have by themselves left Liverpool's manager feeling as though the referee had no sympathy for his side, there was a sending off for Jonjo Shelvey for going into a 50-50 challenge with the studs up on his right boot and clipping Jonny Evans—yet Evans, who was going for the ball along with Shelvey, went in with both feet raised and received no punishment.

Then, United was gifted the game's winning margin when replays showed that Antonio Valencia was untouched by defender Glen Johnson when he tumbled over in the penalty area minutes after Suarez was denied a penalty shout at the other end when contact actually had been made.

And then last night in the League Cup, referee Michael Oliver picked up right where Halsey had left off on the weekend, appearing to rule against Liverpool at every opportunity and getting a handful of decisions similarly demonstrably wrong.

"It's just become quite obvious [that there is a problem]," said Rodgers, "especially after last night's game. Jordan Henderson had a horrendous challenge in the game last night and the player wasn't even booked. Then one of my young players, Andre Wisdom, made a really good tackle and won the ball and got booked for it. There's been a number of incidents."

Whether or not it's common for managers to cry poor officiating, in this case Brendan Rodgers is absolutely right to feel hard done by. The question now becomes whether Mike Riley and the FA will take his legitimate grievances seriously and work to ensure that Liverpool receives the fair and unbiased officiating from here on out that is all anybody really wants at the end of the day.

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