Kyle Walker makes bizarre defence of referee after penalty controversy vs Liverpool

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has lauded referee Michael Oliver for showing "character" in his handling of the late penalty shout against his side in City's 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

The Premier League encounter, which marked the final installment of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool facing off against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, was marred by a VAR call in the closing stages that left both sets of fans divided.

The pivotal moment came deep into stoppage time when Jeremy Doku's high boot collided with Alexis Mac Allister's chest in the penalty box.

"It’s probably not up for me to say if I do think it’s a pen," Walker told Sky Sports.

Referee Michael Oliver waved away Liverpool's appeals for a penalty, a decision supported by VAR Stuart Attwell, who insisted that Doku had made contact with the ball first and that the challenge wasn't dangerous enough to warrant a penalty.

"If I say it’s not a pen, headlines; if I say it is a pen, it’s headlines. So I think the VAR has checked it, the ref’s done it – that’s all I’m going to say on that," Walker added.

One of the "best referees"

Despite Oliver awarding Liverpool a penalty earlier in the first half, Walker commended the referee and VAR for their handling of the intense atmosphere at Anfield.

He said: "I feel that the ref did really, really well. I feel once you have Anfield and the crowd behind him, he could have crumbled there."

“That shows his experience, that shows his character and that’s why he’s regarded as one of probably the best referees in this country and in the world at the minute.”

The swift VAR check, completed in just 20 seconds, saw Oliver's on-field decision upheld, sparking controversy and debate among fans and pundits alike, especially given the lack of opportunity for the referee to review the incident on the pitchside monitor.

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