Le Saux Deserved Red, Says Ref

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Byline: MARTIN LIPTON

GRAEME LE SAUX should have been sent off for delivering a forearm smash to the back of Robbie Fowler's neck, referee Paul Durkin admitted last night.

Durkin conceded he was 'annoyed' that he had missed the clash between the England team-mates in Saturday's match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

He told Sportsmail: 'I've seen the television pictures and, if I'd seen the incident as it happened, Le Saux would have been sent off no doubt whatsoever.

'You can't take action on what you didn't see. I asked my assistant, Phil Joslin, and, like me, he didn't see it at the time. But from the pictures it's quite clear. It's just unfortunate it went unspotted.' Durkin will not mention the incident in his match report but the Football Association will call for the television evidence and that will almost certainly result in the Chelsea player receiving a minimum four-game ban.

The FA may also look into the incident that sparked the flare-up.

Fowler was booked for a late tackle on Le Saux but, as the defender prepared to take the free-kick, the Liverpool man turned his back and bent forwards with his hands on his backside, sneering at Le Saux.

Durkin said: 'I was 40 or 50 yards away as Le Saux was going to take the free-kick. Fowler retreated 10 yards. I blew the whistle three times but Le Saux still wouldn't take it, so he was booked for time-wasting.

'There was a lot of verbals going on between them. …