In football, there are the rules and then there are the ways in which officials apply the rules, and in between there is a gulf of potential confusion and anger for players, managers, and fans when it comes to exactly how the game gets called and the consistency of it.
On Sunday, after a tackle on Mohamed Salah that would have been called illegal in rugby—never mind football, the sport supposedly on display—was ignored by referee Anthony Taylor, that confusion and anger boiled over for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.
Incensed at the officiating of Anthony Taylor and his team, who were determined to let incidents technically against the laws of the game go on Sunday in an effort to let the game flow as some English pundits would have it, Klopp finally exploded on the sideline.
Charging out to challenge the assistant referee who had been mere feet away from the incident and led to referee Taylor halting play to issue a red card to the Liverpool manager, who admitted after the match he was wrong to let his emotions get the better of him.
It wasn’t the only time on Sunday the officials ignored City players dragging their Liverpool counterparts to the pitch by their shirts, and only VAR’s intervention ruled out a City goal for similar in a sequence of play following Taylor’s failure to award a corner for Liverpool.
A touchline ban for Klopp is expected. However, for incidents such as Sunday’s with a manager sent off there is no automatic three-game ban and the FA will investigate first. Few will expect Taylor and his team to to be held to account for any failures of officiating.