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Dean: Drop-ball decision a ‘monumental error’ from Tierney

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean says Paul Tierney made a “monumental error” in the build-up to Darwin Nunez’s 99th-minute winner for Liverpool against Nottingham Forest which sparked chaotic scenes at the City Ground.

Forest were hugely frustrated that the ball had been returned to Liverpool shortly before the decisive goal went in, following a head injury to Ibrahima Konate with the home team in possession.

It later emerged that referee Tierney should have given the ball back to Forest minutes before Liverpool’s dramatic winner, a decision Sky Sports pundit Dean has called a “monumental error” and a “big mistake”.

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Watch as refereee Paul Tierney incorrectly gave Liverpool an uncontested drop ball when he stopped play for a head injury despite Nottingham Forest having the ball.

“Unfortunately, it is a mistake and it’s a bad one, because it leads eventually to a goal,” said Dean, speaking on Sky Sports News.

“The law states that whoever has the ball last when play is stopped, the ball is returned to them. Callum Hudson-Odoi clearly had the ball, and the ball should have been given back to Nottingham Forest.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

“There has been a big fallout and rightly so, it’s a big error by the match referee. It’s something they are going to have to live and learn from – it’s a mistake, we all know it’s a mistake.

“It is right [that we focus attention on it] because the incident is wrong in law. It’s a monumental error. The drop ball law is there for a reason.”

‘The chairman should not get involved’

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The Soccer Saturday team reacts to scenes at the end of Nottingham Forest’s match at home to Liverpool.

Evangelos Marinakis, the Forest owner, appeared pitch-side as others remonstrated with the officials after the final whistle blew.

Forest coach Steven Reid was shown a red card after heated scenes on the benches, before chaos broke out at full time, prompting Marinakis to march onto the pitch to confront officials.

Dean said: “The chairman was on the pitch at the end, we don’t want to see things like that. We don’t need scenes like that after a game.

“Clearly Nottingham Forest are upset, I would have been upset, but unfortunately it’s a monumental error. The referee will know that. Hopefully he can rectify that in the future.

“I was surprised the chairman came down, that shouldn’t happen, he shouldn’t be on the pitch – I’ve never seen it before in the Premier League.”

Nuno: Tough to take

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Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo was left frustrated with some of the refereeing decisions that enabled Liverpool to snatch a 99th minute winner against his side.

But Nuno Espirito Santo, Forest head coach, refused to be drawn on the subject afterwards. “I will not comment on the referee,” Nuno began his press conference.

“Please don’t insist on that, it will not be good. It will be a discussion point, for sure, in the week. I hope the decisions will be better.”

As for the result itself, he said: “It is tough to take, I am proud of the boys. They did everything well until the last moment. Our fans deserve to go home happy and they are not.”

Clattenburg: It is difficult to explain it

Referee Paul Tierney came in for scrutiny for his decision-making towards the end of Liverpool's Premier League win at Nottingham Forest
Image: Referee Paul Tierney has came in for intense scrutiny

While Nuno would not discuss the subject, Mark Clattenburg, the former Premier League referee who is now working in a refereeing analysis role for Nottingham Forest, was more forthcoming.

“Under the laws of the game, the team that has possession when he blows the whistle to stop the game – he is entitled to stop the game because it is a potential head injury – but whoever has the possession, the ball goes back to that team and the other team retreat one metre,” said Clattenburg.

“They changed the law because they did not want a contested drop ball. So, years ago when we had contested drop balls, players used to swing legs and people could get injured so I understand the law change. But the laws state that certainly if the ball is outside of the penalty area and you have possession of the ball, you get possession back.”

Clattenburg said that he will be speaking to the Forest hierarchy about what happened. “I will sit down with the board and the owners to explain what has happened. It is difficult to explain it.” But there has been no dialogue with Tierney himself. “No, I went to go into the dressing room but he would not let us in.”

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