Liverpool's Andy Robertson Defends Mohamed Salah in Face of Diving Accusations

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2019

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool FC at American Express Community Stadium on January 12, 2019 in Brighton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has come to the defence of team-mate Mohamed Salah amid accusations he dived to win a penalty in the Reds' 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

Salah was brought down by Pascal Gross at the Amex Stadium before converting the resulting penalty to win the match for the Reds, and Robertson felt it was the correct decision by referee Kevin Friend.

Per Goal's Dejan Kalinic, he said:

"Every time it happens, we go back, everyone looks at the video, and you go, 'Well, it's not a dive.'

"He is not that sort of player, so how many times is it going to happen?

"I was at the edge of the box and it was a stonewaller. If people are starting to say Mo has gone down easily, it's not fair.

"The one against Arsenal, especially, he got clipped three times. They still appealed. It's a bit of desperation."

Salah was controversially awarded a penalty against Newcastle United on Boxing Day, with some perceiving him to have gone down too easily after Paul Dummett grabbed his arm in the box. He was awarded another against Arsenal three days later having been felled from behind by Sokratis.

Gross, who was penalised for pulling back Salah on Saturday, felt he had been hard done by with the decision.

Per the Mirror's Darren Lewis, the Brighton midfielder said: "My first feeling was that he put his arm around me. I put my arm around him, but I had the feeling that I pulled my arm away at the right moment and he just stopped so that I could fall."

His own manager felt it was a penalty, though, per Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent, who was puzzled by accusations against Salah:

ESPN FC's James Tyler also thought it was a clear penalty:

The forward's pace and trickery on the ball makes challenging him cleanly difficult for opponents, and Liverpool's attacking dominance ensures he spends plenty of time in the penalty area.

As such, it's likely he'll draw fouls and win several penalties for his team each season, even if at times his reactions can appear theatrical.

While he's not hit quite the same heights he did last season, Salah has been decisive for the Reds this term, per football writer Joel Rabinowitz:

His goal handed Liverpool another three points on Saturday, taking their tally to 57 for the season from 22 matches and giving them a seven-point cushion over Manchester City before the Sky Blues play Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night.

If Liverpool manage to secure the Premier League title this season, Salah will have been one of their biggest contributors.  

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