Brendan Rodgers risked an FA charge by launching a scathing attack on the officials after Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City and questioning the appointment of a referee from Greater Manchester.
The Liverpool manager believed a series of major decisions went against his side and was particularly aggrieved that Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed after he was wrongly ruled offside.
Rodgers called the officials’ performance “horrendous” and insisted that referee Lee Mason, from Bolton, lives too near City to be given such a match.
He said in his postmatch news conference: “I was very proud of the players, I thought they were absolutely outstanding. They had no help from the officials. I thought today they were horrendous in terms of performance. We had nothing that went our way at all.
“I thought we never got any decisions. The linesman on the offside one, he wasn’t even on the same cut of grass. If you are working at this level, you have to get it right. It’s not even a difficult one. It is a perfectly-timed run and he is given offside when he is through one-on-one on goal. They are big moments in big games.
"There is another incident when Luis [Suarez] doesn’t get a free kick when Joleon Lescott comes through him and it is waved play on. It is arguable it is a penalty at the end. Hopefully we don’t have a Greater Manchester referee again on a Liverpool-Manchester City [game].”
Rodgers insisted it is out of character for him to criticise referees and their assistants and said he was only commenting because he felt they were particularly poor.
He added: “The officials will make mistakes. I just felt the mistakes that were made tonight shouldn’t have happened at this level. We get Raheem through on goal and you are talking about three feet [onside]. It’s not even the same cut of grass. Where you are as a linesman, you can see the whole picture. It is a poor decision. Of course if Raheem goes through he scores.
“I never speak about officials but I feel the need to protect the players this evening. They were outstanding and got nothing. I was surprised we were playing in Manchester and have a referee from Greater Manchester. I am sure we won’t get Liverpool-Manchester City [refereed by] someone from the Wirral.”
Rodgers felt his side deserved to become the first team to beat City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League this season.
He added: “We are disappointed not to have won, never mind losing. We showed great confidence and belief and scored a wonderful goal. Some of our movement and passing was exceptional and for me it is great to see. We have lost the game but take a great deal of encouragement.”