Ryan Mason said Diogo Jota should have been sent off before scoring Liverpool’s stoppage time winner in a 4-3 victory against Tottenham Hotspur, claiming that the forward deserved a red card for “endangering an opponent” with a foul that left midfielder Oliver Skipp with a gashed head.
Jota’s goal four minutes into stoppage time came seconds after Richarlison had capped a Spurs fightback from 3-0 down to equalise and seemingly claim a point for the visitors.
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The former Wolves forward, a second-half substitute for Luis Diaz, was involved in an incident with Skipp which forced the midfielder to go off the pitch with a head wound and Spurs interim-manager Mason said the challenge was a clear red card incident.
“Honestly, it’s probably the clearest red card you will see on the football pitch,” Mason said. “I need an explanation. It endangered the opponent. Skipp needs stitches and Jota has scored the goal when he shouldn’t be on the pitch.
“When you talk about endangering an opponent, to draw blood from a stud when his head if 5.5-feet in the air just baffles me.
“That type of decision is the difference between winning the game or not. For me it’s tough to understand and I’d like an explanation. I see it in real time and you have a feel for those sort of moments. The VAR official has a replay.
“It has decided the game because the player who scored the goal shouldn’t have been involved. It’s a big, crucial decision and one you can’t really miss. It’s impossible to understand why.”
When asked about the incident, Jota accepted that his challenge was “not great.”
“It’s not a great tackle,” Jota said. “I also touched the ball. I also think he gets his head down. It’s just brave from him. Unfortunately, it’s a foot in the face. I saw the ref could see I didn’t mean it and it’s just football.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, defended Jota and urged Mason to focus on other issues as Spurs continued to slide backwards in the table.
“Diogo was not intentional,” Klopp said. “He went for the ball, his foot was high. But I really think Ryan Mason has other things to worry about.”
The win put Liverpool up to fifth place in the Premier League on 56 points from 33 games, seven behind fourth-place Manchester United, who have a game in hand.