‘It spoils the game… I would have liked a longer VAR check’: Thomas Tuchel admits Reece James’s Anfield red card was ‘maybe’ correct while heaping praise on his resilient Chelsea
- Thomas Tuchel watched on as his Chelsea side drew with Liverpool at Anfield
- Reece James was controversially sent off for a handball on the goal-line
- Tuchel says it was ‘maybe’ correct but insists the ref should have looked harder
- The German boss says his 10-man side went on to put in a ‘fantastic’ showing
Thomas Tuchel bemoaned the VAR decision that he claimed spoilt Chelsea’s showdown with Liverpool – but still came away from Anfield with his spirits soaring.
Chelsea did nothing to dissuade the idea that they are potential Premier League champions after grinding out a 1-1 draw on Merseyside, a result that had even more merit as they played for 45 minutes with 10-men.
Reece James was sent-off for handling Sadio Mane’s goal-bound effort after Taylor went to view his pitchside monitor. When the official made his decision to give a penalty, which was converted by Mo Salah, Tuchel erupted at fourth official Craig Pawson.
Thomas Tuchel was left to rue refereeing decisions despite being proud of his Chelsea side
Tuchel claimed Taylor had only looked at a still of the incident, rather than the full scene. The ball looped off James’s knee before he jutted his arm out and Chelsea’s head coach felt the circumstances ruined what was shaping up to be a thrilling game.
‘I think double punishments are super hard and it was a bit of a spoiler for the game,’ said Tuchel, whose side led through Kai Havertz’s header.
‘I do not like these early red cards; nobody wants to see that for 45 minutes. We have to live with it.
Reece James was sent off after swiping a goalbound effort away on the line with his hand
Chelsea’s boss fumed on the touchline, much to the bemusement of his compatriot Klopp
‘I’m not sure there is a harder challenge, when you are down to 10 men, have to take N’Golo Kante off (through injury) and Liverpool are attacking The Kop. I would have wished that the referee made a longer consideration, rather than just the image. On the bench, we saw the full movement.
Tuchel added: ‘I can remember referees who explained if its a deflection and it’s not a very unnatural arm position, maybe he stays with the decision. Maybe he would have done another decision. I don’t blame him for the decision but how he made the decision was too quick.’
Chelsea surrounded referee Anthony Taylor before and after Salah’s equaliser as they voiced their displeasure at his decision
Jurgen Klopp was also in agreement that the fixture had been distorted, saying: “I would have loved to see how it would have been, 11 v 11, to have a look and see where we stand. It was such an incredible intense game.’
A draw was a fair result, though, as Chelsea’s outstanding defending – inspired by Thiago Silva, who came on as a second half substitute – ensured they limited Liverpool’s opportunities while they had a man over.
Tuchel said: ‘I can’t praise my team enough for their resilience; I don’t know if there are any harder stadiums in the world than City and Anfield to go one man down with their quality and energy and pushing. The resilience and team work was fantastic.’