CONTROVERSIAL Anthony Taylor decision explained - but not everyone is happy

A contentious decision involving West Ham United goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in Liverpool's 2-2 draw in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off has left fans and pundits divided.

The incident, which occurred in the dying minutes of the match, saw Liverpool's Cody Gakpo bizarrely denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.

In the preceding phase, Areola had collided with Gakpo, resulting in the goalkeeper sustaining an injury as he collided with the post. However, the keeper had the ball in his hands at all times, and, as a result, the referee was seen waving to play the advantage.

The confusion unfolded as Areola rolled the ball out, seemingly with play still active. Gakpo, seizing the moment, rushed towards the ball with intent to score. However, referee Anthony Taylor intervened, blowing the whistle despite the ball appearing to be in play.

Was the advantage cancelled by Anthony Taylor?

According to talkSPORT, the reason why the referee cancelled the advantage was because Areola had signalled that he needed medical treatment, thus ending the advantage.

However, Stuart Pearce was not convinced by this turn of events. The former West Ham coach, reporting on the game for the radio station, suggested that the referee had improvised to cover his error.

“I tell you what, the referee had just made his own rules up here to cover his mistake, in my opinion," he said, live on air.

“If I was Gakpo, I would have got the ball and put it in the net. But as he ran toward the ball, the referee blew his whistle and stopped him from doing it.

“Areola got up and was about to play on, but now he’s gone down saying he needs treatment - I'm not sure about that."

Fan reactions to Gakpo incident

Pearce's sentiments echoed the sentiments of many fans, who were left puzzled by the sequence of events.

"Loved that Anthony Taylor decided to stop Gakpo from scoring for no apparent reason. Literally just stopped open play and decided to call over West Ham's medical team as he was about to score," said Viktor Fagerstrom on X.

The account @FootyTone echoed these sentiments, suggesting Taylor only blew his whistle because "he knows he has messed up".

The timing of the incident proved crucial, with Liverpool missing out on a potential winning goal just minutes before full-time.

The draw leaves Liverpool almost definitely out of the title race. They trail Arsenal and Manchester City, who both have games in hand.

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