Jordan Henderson has questioned the “harsh” penalty call that went against Liverpool in their 1-1 draw with Manchester City and says his side have to be happy with a point.
City were awarded a penalty after Kevin De Bruyne’s cross hit Joe Gomez on the arm, with referee Craig Pawson pointing to the spot after a lengthy wait that involved him checking the pitchside monitor.
However, De Bruyne was unable to convert from 12 yards – the first time a player has missed the target entirely from the spot in a Premier League game since City’s Riyad Mahrez against Liverpool in October 2018.
It was the second controversial penalty call of the day after Max Kilman was penalised for handling Dennis Praet’s cross in Leicester City’s 1-0 win over Wolves.
And while Henderson understands why City were given a penalty, he does not agree with the current handball laws.
“People will say I am biased because it is against us, but I saw one similar in the Leicester game as well,” he told Sky Sports. “Joe is running back to his own goal, where is he going to put his arms?
“I think it is so difficult for defenders. I felt it was harsh, but they have been pretty consistent. In the Leicester game they gave it and they gave it [for Man City] but for us as players I think it is harsh.
“Hopefully the refs can look at it. They shouldn’t have been given in both games.”
Gomez was equally frustrated at the decision, arguing that he had no chance of moving his arm away from the ball.
“On a personal note, it’s frustrating,” he said. “I think everyone knows the power that Kevin De Bruyne can hit the ball with.
“In that moment, I’m just running towards goal. I’m not going to run with my hands behind my back and I’m not going to dispute the ball hitting my hand, but I’ve not made an attempt to try and handle it.
“Then it’s frustrating when the referee goes over and looks in slow motion at something that has happened in real time when De Bruyne has hit the ball as hard as he has.
“I’ve got to accept his decision, but I think there are enough conversations going on around that rule at the minute.
“You have to look at the scenario with some common sense and just think, what could I have done?”
Mohamed Salah had earlier fired Liverpool ahead from the penalty spot after Kyle Walker lunged in on Sadio Mane, but Gabriel Jesus equalised 18 minutes later in a high-quality first half.
The second period was less eventful, with the sides managing just one shot on target between them compared to four in the first half, and neither team managed to sneak a victory.
The draw ultimately suits Liverpool more than City, keeping the champions five points in front of their opponents having played one game more.
City failed to register a shot on target after Jesus’ leveller and had just seven shots overall, which is their lowest in a league game on home soil since February 2010 – also against Liverpool (five).
And Jesus, who has now scored in three successive games for City, concedes it feels like an opportunity missed for his side to close the gap.
“Both teams wanted to win. Sometimes when it’s like this you have to control the ball more,” he said. “We have to keep playing like this and try to convert the chances.
“We played at home and we have to win the games here. The result is not good for us and maybe it’s good for them.”