Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ref May Have Lost It but It's All for Reds to Gain If They Keep Cool, Says Allardyce

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ref May Have Lost It but It's All for Reds to Gain If They Keep Cool, Says Allardyce

Article excerpt

Byline: Ken Dyer

WEST HAM 1 LIVERPOOL 2

SAM ALLARDYCE believes Liverpool could win the Premier League title if they "hold their nerve".

Manchester City will put that particular quality to the test next weekend when they meet Brendan Rodgers' vibrant team at Anfield, as will Chelsea when they head to Liverpool at the end of the month.

The signs couldn't be better for Liverpool fans at the moment, though, as they see their team top of the Premier League, two points clear of Chelsea and four in front of City, who have two games in hand.

There were no signs of stress from Liverpool at Upton Park yesterday -- certainly not from their captain Steven Gerrard, who scored twice from the penalty spot in the 2-1 win, or from Rodgers himself, who tinkered with his team and their formation at half-time, with the score at 1-1 and the game in the balance.

West Ham, playing with more freedom after clawing themselves up the table to relative safety in recent weeks, also played their part.

tabl a fact f h o imp off pai In fact, the only sign of nervousness came from referee Anthony Taylor and his team. Allardyce (left) has a raft of proposals on how to improve the standard of officiating, including a bigger pool of referees, professional assistants and a more innovative recruitment procedure.

It might be time for Mike Riley, who oversees the professional referees in this country, to at least have a look at Allardyce's ideas. Taylor had a terrible, torrid time. There was no argument about Liverpool's first spot-kick in the 44th minute after James Tomkins had handled.

West Ham's equaliser a minute later, however, was farcical. You could understand Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet dropping the ball after Andy Carroll goalk dropp had given him a slap on the head as he challenged for a corner and even though Guy Demel had then scored, assistant referee Stuart Burt flagged for the infringement.

After a mystifyingly long conversation, Taylor over-ruled the decision and allowed the goal even though furious Liverpool players pointed to the big screen which was replaying the incident, a misdemeanour which is likely to earn West Ham a fine. …

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