Should Pascal Gross have been given a red card for Liverpool penalty?

Liverpool head into the next international break after a hard-fought point at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.

A defensive mix-up saw the Reds go behind to Simon Adingra's strike, but a Mohamed Salah double took Jurgen Klopp's side into half-time in the lead.

After the break, Lewis Dunk became the first opposition player to score against Liverpool in the second half in 2023/24 as he headed in an equaliser on 78 minutes.

Klopp described the result as 'fair', though the game was not without controversy.

Liverpool took the lead shortly before half-time when Salah converted a penalty after Dominik Szoboszlai was pulled down in the box by Pascal Gross.

Referee Anthony Taylor awarded the spot kick but chose not to send off Gross for the offence of denying a goalscoring opportunity, while VAR did not intervene, either.

The decision, hot on the heels of last week's still-raging controversy in the defeat to Spurs, sparked fresh debate online among fans who thought the Brighton star should've been punished.

Why wasn't Pascal Gross sent off against Liverpool?

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) law on penalties for denying goalscoring opportunities reads: "Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.), the offending player must be sent off."

By the letter of the law, a player should be sent off for a shirt pull if it denies a goalscoring opportunity.

The only explanation in the case of Gross, then, is that it was felt by Taylor and Pawson that Szoboszlai was not in position for a clear goalscoring opportunity as he was not directly facing goal and was not yet in possession as he was hauled down trying to get on the end of the pass from Darwin Nuñez.

However, it appears hard to argue that Szoboszlai wouldn't, at least, have been able to get a shot away had it not been for the German midfielder's intervention.

32-year-old Gross also avoided a yellow card for the incident.

What did Klopp say?

Speaking after the game, the Liverpool manager avoided getting drawn into criticising the officiating but turned the question on the reporters at his post-match press conference.

"I didn’t even realise at the time to be honest," Klopp said. "When it was a penalty, I didn’t think about a red. But I’ve heard now it was about whether it was a goal scoring opportunity.

"Can I ask the question here? Do you think it was a goal scoring opportunity? Hands up! I haven’t seen it back yet. Oh, a few hands up!

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"What can I say about that? I’m over it. I’m too old for these kind of things. It won’t change it."

Meanwhile, captain Virgil van Dijk described the decision as 'quite curious' but insisted he accepted the referee's call.

He said: "On the pitch you are thinking about this and we have to be careful for asking if he's not going to get sent off. I was quite curious what was the reason that he didn't even get a booking, but it is what it is. We just have to accept it."

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