Liverpool earned a dramatic 2-1 victory over Newcastle on Sunday with Darwin Nunez scoring twice late for the 10-man visitors.
Jurgen Klopp’s side saw Virgil van Dijk sent off in the first half for denying Alexander Isak a clear goalscoring opportunity, minutes after Anthony Gordon had put the hosts ahead.
Van Dijk’s team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold had earlier avoided a second yellow card for a foul on Gordon in a frantic start to the match.
Former Premier League referee MIKE DEAN gives his verdict on the two incidents below.
Referee John Brooks faced two major decisions during Liverpool’s victory over Newcastle
ON VAN DIJK SEEING RED – RIGHT
Virgil van Dijk may have got the ball, but only after wiping out Alexander Isak.
His challenge was hard, rash and a clear case of DOGSO (denial of a goalscoring opportunity).
That is why referee John Brooks had to show him a straight red, and why VAR Stuart Attwell supported his decision. Obviously, Van Dijk disagreed as he unleashed a verbal volley on fourth official Craig Pawson, which was out of line.
Depending on what is written in the referee’s report, Van Dijk may find himself in further trouble with the football authorities.
Abuse like that is never easy to be on the end of, but credit to Pawson for keeping his cool in a heated situation.
Brooks was right to show Virgil van Dijk a red card after the defender’s foul on Alexander Isak
ON TRENT ESCAPING RED – WRONG
Trent Alexander-Arnold wanted a free-kick after a shove on him by Anthony Gordon but got nothing.
Brooks’ view may have been blocked by the body of Gordon but it happened in front of Pawson, the fourth official, and should have been called for what it was: a foul.
Had Liverpool been awarded the free-kick, Brooks could have avoided then having to book Alexander-Arnold for throwing away the ball. That caution was a no-brainer.
Players know referees are under strict orders to show no leniency when it comes to that, so Alexander-Arnold should have known it would earn him an easy yellow card.
Alexander-Arnold can count himself lucky for not being shown a second yellow when he fouled Gordon to stop a Newcastle attack. most of us were expecting to see Brooks reach into his pocket.
Attwell could not intervene as VAR cannot get involved in yellow cards.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold avoided a second yellow card for a foul on Anthony Gordon