Blunder ref Rob Styles has been suspended
from Premier League duties following his woeful handling of
Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
Styles won’t be officiating in the top flight this weekend.
Referee chief Keith Hackett has revealed Styles has admitted
his mistake in awarding Chelsea a controversial penalty.
Hackett has also contacted Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez to
apologise for the error.
The referee has been universally condemned for a sequence of
mistakes at Anfield. Not only were Chelsea given a penalty,
he appeared to book Michael Essien twice and cautioned eight
Said referees’ supremo hackett today: "Accountability exists
and we expect referees to get big decisions correct.
"On this occasion it was wrong and therefore Rob will not be
officiating next weekend."
Finnan: Ref Styles cost
two crucial points
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Steve Finnan today accused referee Rob
Styles of costing Liverpool two crucial points against
Chelsea as he spoke of his bewilderment at the controversial
Finnan was penalised after his collision with Florent
Malouda, which allowed Frank Lampard to steal a 1-1 draw at
A distraught Finnan said he was stunned when he realised
Styles was pointing to the spot.
“It was definitely two points lost. We deserved to win the
game,” said Finnan. “I’m very disappointed with how they got
back into the game. Four points isn’t a bad start for us,
but it should have been six.
“Everyone has said it wasn’t a penalty. I couldn’t believe
it. At the time when he blew I thought it was for offside.
None of their players appealed for it. Their player just ran
into me, so it was very surprising.
“They needed something like that to get back into the game.
We played a bit better after they scored. We dominated after
that, and in the first half. They had no chances except one
or two headers, so it’s disappointing what happened.
“But our start has been good and we should take a lot of
confidence from that. The way they celebrated a draw at the
end shows what it meant to them, and it felt a bit like a
loss to us, but hopefully over the course of the season
things will be evened out and we’ll be up their
Finnan now sees next week’s trip to Sunderland as just as
important as yesterday’s clash, as Liverpool strive for the
consistency required to maintain a title challenge.
“Sunderland away is a difficult game.
“After international breaks it’s the kind of game we’ve
struggled with over the year,” he said. “We’ve a good enough
squad to cope, but with all due respect we should have the
quality to win those types of game.”
A new star is born as golden boy Fernando Torres turns back
By Nick Peet - Liverpool Echo
It's the second week of August and after
kicking off the season with an away win, an expectant Kop
waits with bated breath for the home debut of Liverpool’s
big summer signing.
And they don’t have to wait long before falling in love with
their newest hero.
After breaking the club’s transfer record to sign the
striker, he repays the club in kind, by turning in an effort
at the Anfield Road end – and a new star is born.
The year was 1977 and the player was Kenny Dalglish.
Now, fast forward 30 years and Fernando Torres will be
hoping that his maiden strike will set him on the road to a
similar career path as that of the club’s brightest star.
Fortunately for Dalglish his big day – when the Reds cruised
past Newcastle United 2-0 – was not ruined by an inept match
But after the hangover’s clear across the city this morning
and Liverpool fans start to think about the positives of
yesterday’s Chelsea stalemate, one thing will override
The Reds have got themselves a goal poacher again.
The club’s long, proud history of world class marksmen has
hit something of a dry patch in this decade, ever since
Michael Owen left for Madrid.
But in Torres, Liverpool have definitely signed the kind of
striker who knows where the back of the net is.
Hard working, full of energy and prepared to defend from the
front as willingly as he is to run in behind defenders, it’s
already clear to see exactly why Torres was awarded the
captain’s armband when still only a teenager at former club
The 23-year-old striker is quite obviously a leader and his
performance against Chelsea – and at Villa Park last week –
already suggest enough to argue that he is going to be a
huge success at Anfield.
His first touch is excellent , turn of pace sublime and
finishing clearly top draw.
How many players can you remember that have been rewarded
with their own Kop song inside 45 minutes?
And being lauded with a variation of Robbie Fowler’s old
clap-chant too. High praise indeed.
Naturally his boss was slightly more cautious in his praise.
After seething over the performance of referee Rob Styles,
Rafa Benitez cleared his head enough to say: “It was a good
strike from Torres and a very positive start for him.
“He has good pace and showed real quality but it is also
good for the supporters.
“It’s too early to judge Fernando just yet, but today he
played against one of the best defenders in England and you
can see he had no problems adjusting to the style of
“There is much more to come from him.”
Of course, he has got a million miles to go before he should
even be listed alongside Kop idols Dalglish and Fowler, but
Torres has definitely got the tools to become the latest Red
His goal yesterday, slid perfectly around Petr Cech and
inside the far post after he ghosted past Tal Ben Haim, was
actually more like Own in his youthful pomp than either of
the previous two Reds legends.
Torres’ pace allowed him the opportunity while his finishing
skills gave him the time to shift his body over the ball,
open up his frame and tempt Cech to go to ground before
finally side-footing it across goal.
It was a natural goalscorer at his productive best – and the
Anfield crowd lapped it up.
At Atletico his goalscoring record was hardly the stuff of
His 82 strikes in 214 appearances may only have been topped
by Samuel Eto’o at Barcelona over the last five seasons, but
it hardly compares with pre-Anfield Dalglish’s 167 in 204
starts at Glasgow Celtic.
But in his home city Torres was landed with a much greater
role than simply putting the ball in the back of the net.
He was more of a creative support striker than a
But it is quite clear that Benitez has a much more
productive role for his latest Spanish protege, and he’ll be
hoping that yesterday’s virgin strike will be the first of
many this season and beyond.
The King may be long gone, but has the Spanish Prince just
By Peter O'Rourke - Sky Sports
Rafa Benitez was left fuming by referee
Rob Styles following Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
The Reds were denied a priceless victory after Styles
awarded a controversial second half penalty for Chelsea.
Styles harshly adjudged Steve Finnan to have fouled Florent
Malouda inside the box even thought it appeared that the
Chelsea winger jumped into the Liverpool defender.
Benitez described Styles' decision as "unbelievable" as
Liverpool were forced to settle for a point.
"I think it was a mistake," fumed Benitez.
"It is unbelievable. How can you take this decision? It is
"A team that is working so hard how can you change a game
Asked if he challenged Styles about the decision after the
match, Benitez said: "No. It is clear, he can watch the
video. He may understand why we are so disappointed.
Benitez took positives from his side's performance as
Liverpool dominated for the majority of the proceedings.
"I think we had some chances against a very good team,"
added Benitez. "We know Chelsea is a very good team
"Clearly the game was under control but this kind of
decision is something you cannot explain.
"Maybe he was under pressure all the time anyway I prefer
not to say too much."
Benitez singled out Fernando Torres for special praise after
he scored his first goal for Liverpool to fire them in front
in the first half.
"I think Torres showed the qualities he has - pace and great
finish it was really good," noted Benitez
"It is important for all the strikers to score but
especially for Torres because people will stop him.
"He scored his first goal during pre-season and another goal
at home it is very positive for him."
By Peter O'Rourke - Sky Sports
Jose Mourinho backed Rob Styles after the referee found
himself the centre of controversy during Liverpool's draw
Styles was blasted by Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and
Reds skipper Steven Gerrard after he awarded Chelsea a
Chelsea earned a point after Frank Lampard cancelled out
Fernando Torres' opener from the penalty spot.
Styles controversially adjudged Steve Finnan to have fouled
Florent Malouda inside the box and the decision left a
bitter taste in the mouth for Gerrard and Benitez.
Mourinho reserved judgement on the penalty award, but felt
Styles had a positive game" at Anfield.
When asked if his side had been fortunate with the penalty
award, Mourinho told Sky Sports 1: "I don't know. But so
many times you are unfortunate, especially in this stadium
with referees' decisions, I don't know.
"I think it is a difficult game for referees.
"Not every player on the pitch was trying to help the
referee. A couple of them, maybe because of their different
culture, didn't help the referee. But two big teams at
Anfield is not easy.
"Overall Mr Styles had a positive game."
Mourinho conceded he was happy to come away from one of his
big rivals with a point.
"I think it is difficult to play here because they are a
good team and it is a positive result for us, especially
because we were losing," added Mourinho.
Gerrard blast for
Steven Gerrard accused referee Rob Styles of cracking
under pressure after he awarded Chelsea a
highly-controversial penalty at Anfield.
Fernando Torres netted with a fine side-footed effort after
just 16 minutes, and Liverpool looked to be on course to
repeat last season's league victory over the then-champions
But in the second period Frank Lampard belted home a
penalty, controversially given for a challenge by Steve
Finnan on Florent Malouda.
Asked if his side deserved to win, Reds skipper Gerrard told
Sky Sports: "I think so. I think a very, very unfair
decision has got Chelsea a point today. But I think we
proved today we are capable of challenging.
"I felt the referee didn't play well today. There was a lot
of pressure from the Chelsea players and I thought he
Asked about his slim chances of overcoming a broken toe to
play in England's friendly against Germany on Wednesday,
Gerrard said: "I looked fit today because I had a
painkilling injection to play. I need to rest to be ready
for the England qualifiers.
"I've spoken to Steve McClaren a couple of times and I'll
speak to him tomorrow I suppose.
"The sensible thing is to make sure you are ready for big
"If the x-ray tomorrow shows the crack has healed, I'll be
playing for England. But I can't see it because three days
ago I had an x-ray and I'd broken a toe."
pay the penalty
By Peter O'Rourke - Sky Sports
Frank Lampard's controversial penalty earned Chelsea a
fortunate 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
Fernando Torres started to repay some of his massive
transfer fee as he gave Liverpool the lead in the first half
with his first goal for the club.
Chelsea were handed the chance to equalise just past the
hour mark when referee Rob Styles controversially adjudged
Steve Finnan to have fouled Florent Malouda inside the box,
even though it looked as if the Frenchman jumped into the
Lampard scored from the resulting spot-kick to earn Chelsea
a point as both sides saw their 100 per cent starts to the
season come to an end.
The incident set the tone for the rest of a fractious match
in which Styles almost lost control. In the latter stages he
appeared to book Michael Essien for a second time without
sending off the Ghanaian only for the fourth official reveal
the booking had been issued to John Terry.
Chelsea's vulnerability on their right flank saw them a goal
behind on 16 minutes.
Gerrard played the ball with the outside of his right foot,
finding Torres heading into the area.
The Spain international took on Tal Ben-Haim, leaving the
ex-Bolton man in just a couple of yards before squeezing a
clever side-foot shot just inside Cech's far post.
Chelsea responded with a Drogba free-kick that was deflected
wide and Kalou saw a six-yard box chance disappear as he
failed to shoot quickly.
Chelsea brought on Claudio Pizarro for Kalou at the break,
to provide better support for Drogba.
And the Peruvian made an instant impact. First he nodded on
a Lampard corner for Jon Obi Mikel to head just over, and
then he stretched at the far post to head wide himself.
Much of Liverpool's play in the opening half was geared to
containment, but they were more adventurous attacking the
Kop end and Gerrard and Xabi Alonso both saw chances go wide
while a Riise free-kick was charged down.
But on 61 minutes, Chelsea were level from the penalty spot.
It was a controversial decision by referee Styles to
penalise Steve Finnan for a challenge on Malouda.
It looked as if Malouda had jumped between Finnan and
Carragher before tumbling and Carragher was booked for
arguing before Lampard drove the spot-kick home.
Lampard was soon booked for dissent, with Terry following,
Chelsea fuming at what they perceived as a Torres dive
looking for a free-kick.
There was more argument involving Essien before the
free-kick went Liverpool's way. The Ghanian appeared to be
booked for a second time but Styles later confirmed that
only Terry had been yellow-carded.
Cech did well to keep out a close-range Riise effort as
Liverpool pressed again.
Dirk Kuyt's flicked header just cleared the bar before Alex
came on for his Chelsea debut in place of Malouda.
Chelsea were now intent on the point, which they achieved
after Babel skimmed a late effort inches wide.