Alan Pardew has accused Liverpool's Christian Benteke of conning the match officials after the Liverpool striker won a late penalty to seal a dramatic comeback against Crystal Palace.
With the Eagles winning 1-0, it seemed as though they would grab their first win of 2016 against Jurgen Klopp's side. When James Milner was sent off for two bookable offences, the three points were effectively in the bag.
But an equaliser from Roberto Firmino was followed by a last-gasp penalty which Benteke both won and scored, but Pardew believes the big Belgian powerhouse was given the spot kick under illegitimate circumstances.
Replays appear to show that Damian Delaney’s knee made slight contact with the striker in full stride. However, there is no doubt that Benteke took full advantage of the contact and Pardew was not happy about it.
“That one: wow,” the Palace manager told reporters of the penalty decision. “The linesman assumes that little touch is a penalty. He [Benteke] makes the most of it. If you think that touch affects the fall he makes you seriously need to have another look. It’s an issue that people need to have a look at in the game.”
He continued in the same vain in front of the cameras, telling Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves that, had the same incident happened to a Crystal Palace player, Andre Mariner would not have awarded the kick.
That interview is embedded here:
Klopp, who was probably expecting defeat when Milner trudged past him with his head hanging, admits Liverpool were lucky to escape south London with three points but praised Benteke for scoring the penalty kick under intense pressure.
“We needed a bit of luck, of course,” said Klopp. “To be honest nobody thought that we would try to make another goal, but Christian did. It was really good.”