Chelsea legend slams referee for lack of bravery in Liverpool clash at Anfield | Football

Conor Gallagher went down under a challenge from Virgil van Dijk at Anfield (Picture: Getty Images)

Joe Cole felt the referee Paul Tierney failed to be brave and should have given Chelsea a penalty in the first half of their clash with Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Early in the contest, with the game goalless, Conor Gallagher burst into the penalty area and went down under a challenge from Virgil van Dijk.

Tierney did not point to the spot and VAR did not step in, so play went on, which appeared to be a fair decision on first glance.

However, on watching replays it did seem that the Dutchman did catch the England international pretty firmly and Cole was certainly of that opinion.

The former Blues winger even suggested that Tierney saw the incident and was just not brave enough to make the decision at Anfield.

Asked if he felt it was a stonewall penalty, Cole said on TNT Sports: ‘Absolutely.

‘[Raheem] Sterling ghosts into the box, Gallagher takes a lovely touch and Van Dijk just squares himself off.

‘I think he just leans into him. To me that’s a penalty. In front of the Kop, first 10 minutes, I think the referee has not been brave there.’

Former Scotland striker Ally McCoist was on commentary and said: ‘There is contact. One thing I would say is Paul Tierney’s positioning was absolutely spot on.

‘It all started from a terrific ball from [Ben] Chilwell and it worked to Gallagher. Why would you go down when there is a strike on with your left foot?’

He added: ‘When you see it, you’ve got to say it looks as though there’s been contact with Van Dijk’s right knee on Gallagher.’

Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton was less convinced, telling the BBC: ‘Conor Gallagher takes a touch past Virgil van Dijk, but I think Gallagher goes down too easily.

‘I think it is the correct decision, a tiny bit of contact.’

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