Jeremy Doku admits he understands Liverpool fans anger over penalty incident

Jeremy Doku admits he was worried during the closing stages of Manchester City’s draw with Liverpool, when referee Michael Oliver and VAR Stuart Atwell were deliberating whether to order a penalty against him. 

The Belgian winger caught Alexis Mac Allister flush in the chest with his boot at the end of injury time during the 1-1 Premier League draw at Anfield, an incident that surely would have drawn a foul anywhere else on the pitch. 

However, the audio of the VAR discussion was released last week with Oliver and Atwell concluding that both players came in high for the ball and that there was not enough in the incident for Oliver to overturn his original call of no penalty. 

That was a view echoed by Head of Referees Howard Webb who last week had his say on the controversy during the Premier League’s Match Officials Mic’d Up discussion programme. 

It is not a widely-held view with former Head of Premier League referees Keith Hackett describing Webb's explanation as 'abject nonsense'.

The question was put to Doku during Belgium’s pre-match press conference ahead of their friendly match against England at Wembley on Tuesday night. 

The relieved 21-year-old maintains his belief that it was not enough for a penalty and concurred with Webb’s analysis. However he did disclose that he understood the anger around the tackle and why Liverpool fans thought it was a spot-kick. 

Doku admits: ‘It was a risky challenge’ 

“Of course I agree,” he said. 

“No, it was a risky challenge. I could have dealt with it differently. I still believe it wasn't a penalty but I know some other referees would have given it. But it wasn't a penalty so I was happy. 

Jeremy Doku of Man City and Jarell Quansah of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield, Liverpool, England on 10 March 2024. Copyright: xStevenxHalliwellx PMI-6143-0020

“Was I worried? For a moment when they were looking at the VAR and maybe looking for a penalty.

“For me it wasn't a penalty, but I understand why some people are angry and why the Liverpool fans believe it was a penalty.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left irate after the game, seeing two potential points slip away in the title race. 

“In all positions on the pitch, it's 100 percent a foul and it’s a yellow card. For all football people it’s a penalty,” he told Sky Sports in his post-game interview

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