Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard was unhappy with the performance of referee Jon Moss during his side’s 2-1 defeat by Liverpool in the Premier League on Tuesday night
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Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 and maintain their challenge for the Premier League title. Douglas Luiz gave Villa the lead three minutes in when he slammed in a rebound after Alisson pushed out his header, but Joel Matip equalised minutes later with a close-range finish.
Villa had plenty of chances, but went behind when Sadio Mane flicked in an inventive header from Luis Diaz’s cross. Danny Ings spurned several chances and had a goal ruled out for offside as the home team unsuccessfully pushed for a point.
The game had plenty of full-blooded tackles and incidents, with 22 fouls split fairly evenly between the two sides, yet was notable for its absence of yellow cards. Moss decided to keep his cards in his pocket and the experienced referee’s calls were not popular with the majority of the 41,919 people inside Villa Park.
Gerrard was frequently animated on the touchline, but initially refused to be drawn into criticising Moss’ performance too deeply. “No comment, I just hope that it’s looked at. That’s all I say. I hope it’s looked at,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“Have I gone to talk to Jon Moss? No. I just hope his performance is looked at. I don’t want to be sour, Liverpool scored two goals against us and we need to look at that and I don’t want to cover over any cracks.”
The former Liverpool captain was then informed that Moss is retiring at the end of the season. He replied: “Is he? Good.”
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Moss will follow Mike Dean and Martin Atkinson in retiring at the end of the 2021/22 season. Although he won’t be officiating Premier League games for much longer, the 51-year-old has taken a job with the PGMOL – the body responsible for match officials in English professional football. He is set to become manager of the Select Group One, the best group of referees in the country, with Atkinson appointed as their coach.
The trio of departures has been offset by the promotion of Jarred Gillett, Michael Salisbury, Tony Harrington and John Brooks to Group One. The Times reported last month that the Premier League is planning to alter the way in which its referees are trained. A new “elite referee development plan” aims to fast-track the training process, to allow new referees to officiate top matches quicker.
While he was clearly unhappy with the refereeing, Gerrard was also clear that his team could have earned a least a draw from the game, had they taken their chances. Ings put an early header over the bar and was stopped one-on-one by Alisson in the second half.
“Possibly we should have got more but we have to take the big moments we create in the game,” he said. “We are frustrated we didn’t score more than once. The big positive for me was that we were ambitious, brave, courageous and went toe-to-toe against one of the best teams in the world. They have world-class players have that have been together for a long time, and my players haven’t let themselves down. I’m proud of them.”