Crystal Palace fell to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, with Fabinho’s contentious late penalty sealing all three points after a stirring second-half fightback had put the result in doubt
Angry Patrick Vieira accused referee Kevin Friend of “killing” his Crystal Palace team with a shocking late penalty decision.
With the Eagles pushing for a point, the Leicester official – advised by VAR Craig Pawson – pointed to the spot after Diogo Jota ran into Palace keeper Vicente Guaita.
Vieira fumed afterwards: “The referee killed our legs. A poor decision from the referee took our hope away.
“You should ask him to talk to you and explain the decision himself.
“We keep having those meetings with referees and explaining to them that contact is part of the game. That if there is a situation where there is innocuous contact it is not a penalty.
“Jota was really smart and the referee was really naive – or the VAR was really naive. There was no way that Jota could get the ball to score because of where he was.
“It happens too often at home, especially when we play these big teams.”
Virgil van Dijk had headed Liverpool in front to and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a controversial second with Roberto Firmino in an offside position.
Odsonne Eduoard clawed Palace back into it with a 54th-minute tap-in and the Eagles looked the better side with a string of chances before Friend’s intervention and Fabinho’s 89th-minute penalty.
Vieira added: “We have these meetings with the referees and explain that contact is part of the game, that if there is a situation where there is innocuous contact it is not a penalty. “Jota was really smart and the referee was really naive – or the VAR was really naive. There was no way that Jota could get the ball to score because of where he was.”
Asked about Firmino’s role in Liverpool, Vieira insisted it too meant the second goal should not have stood.
“It is offside or not offside,” he said. “He either has an impact on the game or not.
“I looked at it from every single angle and I still don’t understand how it can be a penalty. That decision took our hope away to get back into the game and to get a point
“That was a really poor decision from the referee.
“Liverpool were the better team in the first half. But I was really proud of our positive reaction. That was what I wanted. That was what I expected and they gave it to me.”