Despite calls from (at best) idiotic and (at worst) bigoted pundits and former refs, Mohamed Salah will not face retroactive punishment for his perceived simulation leading to Liverpool’s second goal in their 4-0 win over Newcastle yesterday.
“Mo Salah will not face any retrospective disciplinary action over the penalty incident in the 4-0 win over Newcastle,” Liverpool Echo reporter James Pearce stated on Twitter. “The FA say it did not meet their threshold for deception of a match official.”
While the penalty was decisively in the soft “I’ve seen them given” category, there was clearly contact, and a foul likely would have been called outside the box.
Newcastle defender Paul Dummett reached out, grabbed Salah’s left arm as he was streaking past, and impeded his progress. The defender didn’t protest the call at the time, and the biggest shock was actually getting a marginal penalty decision in our favor at Anfield (especially seeing how many stone-cold penalties have been denied in the 400+ days since our last Premier League penalty at home).
Unfortunately, this reprieve comes with a downside. The media narrative, fuelled by bigots and opportunists (who just so happen to want Salah suspended for Arsenal and Manchester City), will likely have on-pitch repercussions. Premier League referees—who already allow Salah to be routinely kicked, hacked, and held—will be more likely to wave “play on,” or even to start dishing out yellows for simulation.
I hope we enjoyed that penalty yesterday, because it might be another year before we see another.