The majority of soccer neutrals will tell you that the worst part of Sunday's Liverpool-Chelsea clash at Anfield was the performance of referee Rob Styles. Not only did Styles award Chelsea a penalty that clearly wasn't, he also gave Michael Essien two yellow cards before insisting that the second was directed at captain John Terry, who was nowhere nearby as Styles brandished the yellow card at his Chelsea teammate. Tempers on both sides flared up throughout a match that Styles failed to control, threatening several times to boil over.
It was such a bad performance, in fact, that
Keith Hackett, GM of Professional Game Match Officials Limited decided to suspend Styles from refereeing this coming weekend. "Accountability exists and we, the PGMOL, do expect referees to get big
decisions correct," he said. "On this occasion it was wrong and therefore Rob will not be officiating next weekend."
After Sunday's match, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said the
referee bowed to the pressure of the Chelsea players' constant appeals in awarding the penalty. "I felt as if the referee didn't play well today ... he cracked. I hope he comes out and says that
because, as players, when we make mistakes we come out and say so." To Styles' credit, he admitted to Hackett that the decision was wrong. Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, suggested his side
deserved some luck after constantly being on the wrong end of bad decisions at Anfield. "Overall, I thought Mr Styles had a positive game," he said.