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By ESPN Staff

Poll advises Styles to take time off

Former top referee Graham Poll believes Rob Styles should not officiate any games next week after his 'big mistake' in awarding Chelsea a crucial penalty against Liverpool.

Styles has come under fire following his decision to penalise Steve Finnan, even though the Reds full-back appeared to make no contact with Florent Malouda as Chelsea earned a 1-1 Anfield draw yesterday.

Poll, who retired at the end of last season, has advised Styles to take next weekend off.

'What he will do, I would venture to suggest, is probably have a weekend off next week,' Poll said on Radio Five Live.

'If that was me, I'd certainly be happy to have a weekend off, lick my wounds, regain my strength and confidence and come back.'

But fellow ex-referee Jeff Winter believes the Premier League cannot afford to let Styles sit out this weekend's fixtures.

'The problem is at Premier League level, we saw referees retire at the end of last season,' he said on Sky Sports News.

'They haven't exactly got the numbers.'

On the penalty incident, Poll said: 'It was a big mistake. One thing a referee knows is that he will make a mistake in a match.

'What they are hoping is it's not crucial to the outcome of the match.

'Unfortunately for Rob Styles, that mistake with the penalty was crucial to the match.

'Who knows? It could be crucial to the season.'

Winter added: 'You can't defend the decision. It clearly wasn't a penalty and did change the outcome of the game.'

Poll believes Styles was not in the best position to award a penalty.

'Unfortunately for Rob, he was sucked across the field of play,' Poll explained.

'If he'd been in a normal position for a referee, he would have seen it how we've seen it on the television and he would never have given a penalty.'

Winter believes Styles was too close to play, saying: 'He was that close to play, he didn't get a decent angle on it.'

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard demanded an apology from Styles over the incident, claiming players are always saying sorry for their mistakes.

But Poll refuted this, claiming: 'It's a two-way street. I've never yet heard a player come out and apologise for his actions.

'Maybe Rob Styles will choose to do so in the fullness of time.'

As well as the penalty, Styles caused confusion when Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien believed he had been sent off after appearing to be shown a second yellow card.

Styles insisted by brandishing the card, he was merely confirming an earlier booking for Blues captain John Terry, who had nevertheless already been shown yellow.

Poll described the incident as 'messy', saying: 'The first look at it, you think he's definitely cautioned Essien for a second time.

'Having looked back at it, you can see Rob clearly raises the yellow card, he points over to John Terry.

'I think he realises raising the card how it might look and so he's trying to point it out.

'It did look messy.'

Winter added: 'I don't understand why he showed the yellow card a second time. He's already shown it once to John Terry.

'After the game, it would have been nice to hear the referee's view, which would have cleared it up.'

Anfield was not the only scene of controversy at the weekend, with Fulham denied an equaliser against Middlesbrough after the officials failed to spot David Healy's shot had crossed the line.

Poll defended his former colleagues but called for technology to be used for such incidents.

He said: 'They didn't say it wasn't a goal. What they said was they couldn't see clearly whether it was over the line or not.

'It is time for technology and the sooner the better.'