Rafa Benitez may have just helped Liverpool win their first ever Premier League title.
The Spaniard, who led Liverpool to Champions League glory during his six seasons in charge, oversaw Newcastle United’s 2-1 win against Manchester City on Tuesday that allows the Reds to establish a seven point lead at the top of the table.
It’s no wonder Liverpool supporters are praising Benitez on social media.
His Newcastle side trailed after just 24 seconds thanks to Sergio Aguero’s early strike but second half goals from Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie turned the game on its head.
The result means that Liverpool can extend their advantage to seven points by beating Leicester on Wednesday evening.
City supporters will know that their side didn’t play well but many will feel aggrieved that they had a second goal ruled out.
In the 17th minute, Aguero netted a second but it was disallowed as referee Paul Tierney wasn’t ready to allow Kevin De Bruyne a quick free-kick. The Belgian playmaker received a yellow card for taking the set piece before Tierney's whistle.
Mark Clattenburg weighs in
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker called for a rule change, writing on Twitter: “Ridiculous to penalise the team that has been awarded a freekick… Think it’s a law change that is quite rightly being considered. Take it as soon as you want.”
But former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg insists that Tierney was right to chalk off the goal.
“Manchester City can have no complaints with Paul Tierney for disallowing Sergio Aguero’s goal that would have put them 2-0 up,” Clattenburg told the Daily Mail.
“At any free-kick, the referee will ask the attacking team if they want to take it quickly.
“If that offer is declined, the referee will mark the defensive wall. The attacking team then have to wait for the referee’s whistle before they can take the free-kick.
“On Tuesday night, Tierney clearly showed his whistle to De Bruyne - a technique referees use to tell players to wait for the restart. But De Bruyne took it quickly and was booked.”
So if Tierney did ask De Bruyne if he wanted to take a quick free-kick, and the Belgian said no, it seems like he did nothing wrong.
Still, that’s not going to appease a large number of Man City supporters who understand just how crushing the defeat is to their title hopes.