Luis Diaz wasted little time to fire Liverpool into the lead at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon.
With the Reds unable to drop any points if they want to keep pace with Manchester City in the title race, it was imperative that Jurgen Klopp’s men made a strong start at the Amex Stadium.
So, you can rest assured that Kopites were not only delighted with the rapidity of their opening goal – breaking the deadlock after just 19 minutes – but also with their new signing for providing the finishing touch.
Diaz wiped out by Sanchez’s challenge
However, the celebrations against the Seagulls were short-lived because there was a deep intake of breath when it became abundantly clear that Diaz had been injured in the process of scoring.
The Colombian winger had been played through on goal by a stunning Joel Matip pass from deep and quickly faced a 50:50 challenge to win the ball with Robert Sanchez rushing out from his goal.
And while Diaz ultimately got there first to head the ball home, he received an almighty blow from Sanchez along the way that looked to many fans to be deserving of a red card.
Should Sanchez have been sent off?
Thankfully, it was eventually established that Diaz was ok and fine to continue playing, but there was still plenty of outrage that VAR didn’t award Sanchez with a red card. Check out the incident down below:
Luis Diaz opens the scoring after an incredible pass from Joël Matip! 🔥— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 12, 2022
Despite being taken out by Robert Sánchez the Liverpool forward is ok to carry on 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Vka83JoN2X
Luis Diaz goall!! pic.twitter.com/NUwc4sj92Z— $. (@SR1V4T54N) March 12, 2022
What do you think?
Reporters and pundits react
Well, it’s fair to say that the incident sparked controversy on social media with a number of reporters and pundits opining that Sanchez should have been sent packing for the clash. Take a look:
"If you ever want to see serious foul play, that's it."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 12, 2022
"He could have been seriously, seriously injured there."
"It's WWE that."@rioferdy5, @petercrouch and Steve McManaman are left baffled Robert Sánchez is still on the pitch after his collision with Luis Díaz 😳 pic.twitter.com/UZZhP6Q1by
A controversial incident
It just goes to show that even VAR hasn’t cleared up some of the more controversial incidents in the Premier League with both the on-field officials, as well as those in Stockley Park, saving Sanchez’s bacon.
Nevertheless, one can’t help watching the footage and thinking that it constitutes dangerous play with the episode not feeling a million miles away from Sadio Mane’s red card vs Manchester City in 2017.
Mane’s challenge was obviously far more severe and the roles were reversed, but you’ve got to say that red cards have been given for much less than what could have been a nasty collision for Diaz.
That being said, it’s the winners who write history and the latest wizard to join Liverpool‘s magic show had the last laugh by showing incredible bravery to find the back of the net.