Liverpool's Raheem Sterling Conned Me, Referee Anthony Taylor Reportedly Admits

Tom EdeContributor IIIJanuary 14, 2014

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Raheem Sterling of Liverpool is fouled by Marc Wilson of Stoke City for a penalty kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at Britannia Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Referee Anthony Taylor has reportedly confessed he was conned by Raheem Sterling into giving a penalty in Liverpool's 5-3 victory at Stoke on Sunday.

The Daily Mail's Rob Shepherd and Dominic King report that Taylor has looked at footage and told associates he was wrong to award the spot-kick that restored Liverpool's lead:

Referee Anthony Taylor has privately admitted he was wrong to award Liverpool a penalty in their 5-3 win at Stoke on Sunday. 

Sportsmail understands Taylor has accepted he was duped into awarding a spot-kick after Raheem Sterling went to ground under a challenge from Marc Wilson.

Meanwhile, The Sentinel reports that Stoke chairman Peter Coates said he believes referees are subconsciously favouring the bigger teams in Premier League matches:

It is well known that the big clubs, especially at home, but often away too, get the big shouts.

I am not questioning any referee's integrity, it's human nature. It's always been like that and it never changes.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 30: Stoke City owner Peter Coates (L) speaks during a press conference at the Clayton Wood Training Ground on May 30, 2013 in Stoke-on-Trent, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Liverpool were arguably lucky to be handed the penalty at Stoke, something Brendan Rodgers even admitted, per Tom Dutton of The Evening Standard. 

This season has seen refereeing decisions come under the spotlight with regularity, as highlighted in a November article by BBC Sport.

On the same day that Taylor awarded his disputed penalty to Sterling, Newcastle were controversially denied an equaliser against Manchester City that left Alan Pardew fuming.

Former ref Graham Poll has confessed, as tweeted by ITV Sport, that there was possible favouritism for big clubs during his time in the middle:

The recent controversies will no doubt heighten extra calls for extra technology, something that Gary Neville believes will be beneficial:

However both of Sunday's decisions ultimately came down to opinion. No amount of technology could determine whether Sterling had to fall in the box, or whether Joe Hart was impeded by Yoan Gouffran.

In the case of Sterling, contact was clear, so it becomes human judgement as to whether it was enough to send him tumbling. In the case of Cheick Toite's goal against City, only Hart knows if he refrained from diving due to the position of Gouffran.

While it is frustrating when decisions go against a team, it is important to remember football is a game of swings and roundabouts. Every side has been an awarded an unjust penalty and been denied a stonewall one over the course of time.

In the case of Liverpool, for example, they benefited from the soft Sterling penalty, but only weeks earlier were denied a clear goalscoring opportunity against Manchester City when the same player ran clear.

Referees are human and have a split second to make a decision, sometimes they get it right, sometimes not. But they cannot afford to accuse players of conning them, as the Mail article states.

If technology is to be introduced, that too is not infallible, as cricket's hotspot has proved:

And while Stoke may feel aggrieved that a referee admitted being conned by a dive for the penalty, they can only blame themselves for the other four goals they conceded in the match.