A 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby left Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp raging and Wayne Rooney elated after the Everton striker scored his first in the fixture for his boyhood club.
The Reds were leading 1-0 thanks to Mohamed Salah’s 19th goal of the season with 13 minutes to go when Dejan Lovren’s needless foul on Dominic Calvert-Lewin presented Rooney with the opportunity he had been waiting for since making his debut for the Toffees in 2002.
In his post-match television interview, Klopp told his interviewer he “only wanted to talk to people that have a little bit of an understanding of football”.
Rooney made no mistake and thumped home the spot-kick but Klopp was adamant it should never have been awarded in the first place.
Klopp remonstrated with referee Craig Pawson after the final whistle and in his post-match television interview told his interviewer he “only wanted to talk to people that have a little bit of an understanding of football”.
He continued that theme in a press conference by asking the room for a show of hands from those who thought it was a penalty and was disappointed to see most of the room respond.
“Wow, then I’m really wrong obviously,” he said.
“I don’t think it was a penalty. Obviously you all think it was a penalty, then all of the other challenges in midfield between (Ashley) Williams and (Dominic) Solanke should have been a free-kick. They weren’t, but this was a penalty?
“In the last moment, for me, Calvert-Lewin makes a step in the way of Dejan Lovren. But he doesn’t push him, it’s just body contact. That’s how it was in midfield 60, 70 times. No free-kicks there.”
It made little difference to Rooney, who gleefully dispatched only Everton’s second penalty in 80 years at Anfield.
“All I kept thinking was, ‘You can’t miss this penalty, you just can’t!’. It was such a big moment in the game. I was delighted with it,” he said.
“I was just as delighted with the character that we showed because physically, for the whole team, it was a difficult game.”
His manager Sam Allardyce praised Pawson for making the decision.
“Don’t put your hands on the forward when he’s in the box,” Allardyce said.
“Don’t touch him, don’t push him. If you do, you run the risk of giving a penalty away.
“He had no need to do it, he could have stood up, shepherded (Calvert-Lewin) away from goal, which was where he was going.
“He put his hands on him, pushed him over so…people can call it soft but you don’t do those things in the box.
“The credit goes to Craig Pawson – being brave enough to give it at Anfield.”