Howard Webb’s failure to award Liverpool a clear penalty during Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal may be because the referee is too focused on pursuits away from football, according to former Premier League official Mark Halsey.
Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup at the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners triumphed 2-1, but were denied an obvious spot-kick after Steven Gerrard had already converted once from 12 yards.
Lukas Podolski had fouled Luis Suarez for the initial penalty, before the Liverpool striker later clashed with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the Arsenal area. The England international chopped down Suarez, but Webb opted against the award.
It was a decision that left Liverpool apoplectic and, says Halsey, Webb has become somewhat complacent of late given other commitments away from being a referee and should focus more on his full-time position.
"Howard has made an error of judgement," Halsey told talkSPORT.
"He has not had the best of seasons. He has not been the Howard Webb we all know.
"Perhaps he may need a little rest because he is perhaps doing too much.
"He is not just refereeing football matches, he is doing a lot of work outside of football. He is doing a lot of after-dinner speaking. Everyone wants Howard Webb because he was the World Cup [final] referee [in 2010].
"He has to take a good look at himself in the mirror and ask himself what he wants. This [refereeing] is his full-time job and he has got to concentrate on this.
"He has to forget about what he is doing outside of football. He has got to put that on the back-burner and concentrate on what he is being paid for full-time."
Arsenal, meanwhile, will host Everton in the quarter-final of the FA Cup after overcoming their Merseyside neighbours.