Liverpool will be without superstar winger Mohamed Salah as they take on Cardiff in the FA Cup Fourth Round this weekend.
The Egyptian captain, who remains on duty with his country at the African Cup of Nations, was at the centre of great controversy the last time the two sides met – and then-Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock didn’t hold back when taking a swipe at Salah after the match.
Heading into the April 2019 Premier League encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium, both teams were in desperate need of points, but for very different reasons.
The Reds were seeking a victory to replace Manchester City at the top of the table as the two top-flight giants contested one of the most closely-fought title races in years, while Cardiff were scrapping to try and avoid relegation to the Championship.
The first half went well for the underdog hosts as they managed to keep the score at 0-0.
Shortly before the hour mark, though, Georginio Wijnaldum broke Cardiff’s brave resistance – before a James Milner penalty ended all hope of the Welsh side picking up anything from the game.
The spot-kick was awarded when Salah went down under a challenge from Sean Morrison. The Liverpool man certainly seemed to make the most of the situation as he tumbled to the turf and many – Warnock included – went as far as to claim that he had dived to get the decision.
“Once again, one or two things have gone against us, but I’m always like that, aren’t I?” Warnock told talkSPORT after the match, bemoaning the fact that his side hadn’t been awarded a penalty of their own.
“It’s not just the [Liverpool] penalty, I think we should’ve had a penalty after half-time.
“When you look at the way Robertson’s pulled his shirt, all of the television pundits say it’s a penalty by the letter of the law.
“But they get away with it. They say the sun might’ve been in the linesman’s eyes,” he joked.
Warnock was even more critical of Salah in his post-match press conference, comparing him to Olympic gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley.
“I thought it was a soft one, really. We gave him an opportunity, didn’t we? I thought the end of it was a 9.9 Tom Daley job.
“He [Salah] couldn’t have got much higher off the diving board, but I’m sure you’ll be saying ‘Warnock’s a moaning so-and-so’ again,” concluded the veteran manager.
You can check out the incident that had Warnock up in arms below (at 1.24).
Watch: Mo Salah wins controversial penalty for Liverpool v Cardiff in 2019
Cardiff would ultimately be relegated by a margin of just two points at the end of the campaign. Liverpool, meanwhile, had to settle for second in the table, missing out on the title by a single point.
The Reds did manage to go one better the following season, claiming their first Premier League title in 30 years.
Cardiff parted company with Warnock just over six months after this defeat and have yet to make it back to the top table of English football.
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