CAPE TOWN – It’s just before halftime, and Crystal Palace have managed to keep the high-flying Liverpool at bay for 44 minutes.
It’s just what the Eagles needed at a packed Selhurst Park, as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool had all the ammunition to blow them away.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita… the list goes on.
So, Palace manager Roy Hodgson would’ve been more than pleased to go into the break level at 0-0.
But then it happened – Salah goes down in a heap in a challenge by former Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho.
Referee Michael Oliver blows his whistle and points to the spot, but was it a penalty?
Klopp pleaded ignorance, saying “I didn’t see it. It looked like it was (a penalty), but I have no idea”.
Looking at the replay, it is a close call. Sakho is tight on Salah throughout, and once the ball comes into the box, the Egyptian tries to twist and turn.
Sakho then puts his foot in to win the ball, which goes past him, and he has another go at the ball.
That is when there is slight contact with Salah, and the Reds star goes down.
Neville has a point about it being a “theatrical fall”, as Salah made as if he was hacked down, which wasn’t the case.
Sakho’s boot was on the ground, and Salah fell over it. Is that a penalty?
Oliver thought so, but the jury’s still out…