LONDON • Alan Pardew was left seething at Christian Benteke after accusing the Liverpool striker of diving to help his team claim a dramatic late 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Pardew, whose Crystal Palace side have failed to win in 12 English Premier League matches, were left fuming at the decision to award Benteke a penalty deep into stoppage time.
Andre Marriner, the referee, made the call on the advice of his assistant, Scott Ledger, who raised his flag after Damien Delaney's knee appeared to clip Benteke's heel inside the penalty area.
Benteke, who had entered the contest only as an 80th-minute substitute, fell to the ground in rather dramatic fashion before picking himself up and rolling home the penalty with supreme confidence.
"If you're the referee and see the centre-half pulling out of the challenge, you don't give the penalty," Pardew said. "I don't think he did.
TOO CLOSE TO CALL
If you're the referee and see the centre-half pulling out of the challenge, you don't give the penalty.
ALAN PARDEW, Palace manager, on the last-minute penalty that sent his side to a 2-1 defeat by Liverpool.
"The linesman assumes that little touch is a penalty... The touch doesn't warrant the dive he (Benteke) makes, and it's the dive that makes the linesman's mind up. It's a worrying issue in the game."
Delaney claimed that the referee did not believe that the Palace defender had committed a foul.
"I can honestly say I didn't make contact with Benteke and if there was slight contact I didn't impede him and certainly didn't feel there was enough to award a penalty in the 96th min," he said on Instagram.
"If a penalty is awarded that late it has to be unequivocal... In fairness to Andre Marriner he said he didn't think it was a penalty but he trusted his linesman that much he awarded it."
Benteke, who hit his first goal in 14 games, felt differently. "I think he touched me, otherwise I don't go down," the striker said. "The referee knows better than us and he took the right decision."
The Belgian's winner came after a period in which Liverpool had dominated despite being reduced to 10 men, after James Milner had been dismissed after collecting two yellow cards.
They had been afforded a route back into the contest by a horrendous goalkeeping mistake by Alex McCarthy, whose slip allowed Roberto Firmino to cancel out Joe Ledley's strike with 18 minutes left.
Pardew, while clearly angered by the officials, also laid some of the blame at the feet of his players, who failed to negotiate the final period of the game in the manner he had expected.
"It was really disappointing after we scored," he said. "Up to that period we were great. (In the last 15 minutes) we never pushed on, that was the biggest downside."
His opposite number Juergen Klopp said that "passion" had been the determining factor in his side's gritty comeback victory - a third successive league win that lifted them to seventh place in the table.
"You can try, but the rest is passion," the German told Sky Sports. "The lads did great. I can't believe how it feels - really good, a big moment for us."
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE