Andy Robertson was elbowed by the assistant referee in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday, one of the most entertaining games we have seen recently.
Both teams had dominant spells in the game and looked to blow the other away at intervals. But in the end, they settled for a 2-2 draw, much to the satisfaction of Arsenal, who will count themselves lucky to escape with a point.
The Gunners led 2-0 in the first half thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. However, after Granit Xhaka had squared up with Liverpool defender Trent Alexander Arnold, Anfield erupted, urging their team forward.
Mohamed Salah scored shortly after that before a late goal by substitute Roberto Firmimo, off a brilliant cross from Trent’s right boot, levelled the scores.
Liverpool kept pressing for a winner, but Aaron Ramsdale, between the Arsenal goal, kept his side in the game with a couple of world-class saves. Ultimately, it was a memorable game for the neutrals and other teams like Man City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham, who all benefited from the result.
However, a controversial incident occurred in the first half break, involving Liverpool’s defender Andrew Robertson and assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis.
At the end of the first half, the Scottish defender walked off the field towards the players’ tunnel and appeared to say something to Hatzidakis while lightly touching him on the right elbow. The assistant referee responded by lifting his elbow onto Robertson’s face.
The official may claim he was merely shrugging the defender off, but Robertson was left holding his chin and appeared to be saying: ‘He’s just elbowed me in the throat. The linesman has elbowed me in the throat.’
This is the first in Premier League history where an official raises his hand to a player. Referees are often the ones at the end of verbal and physical abuse from football players, with Aleksandr Mitrovic being the most recent case of referee abuse.
The Serbian was recently handed an eight-match ban for shoving referee Chris Kavanagh in his side’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United last month.
FA refereeing body to investigate Andy Robertson’s incidence
Meanwhile, PGMOL — now led by former Premier League referee Howard Webb- said they would investigate the incident at Anfield.
The PGMOL said: “PGMOL is aware of an incident involving assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at half-time during the Liverpool v Arsenal fixture at Anfield.
“We will review the matter in full once the game has concluded.”
It is also understood that the FA will look at the matter in much the same way they would if a player had been guilty of such an offence away from the match referee’s attention.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “I didn’t see it and I now have obviously time to watch it but I didn’t see.
“I cannot give wrong answers. I heard the pictures speak for themselves. I cannot say more. I didn’t see a bit of it.”