Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe has called Diogo Jota’s equaliser for Liverpool on Thursday “unjust”, with Isaac Hayden injured in the build-up.
Liverpool were 3-1 winners against Newcastle in their Premier League encounter at Anfield, but there was controversy in the first half as Jota cancelled out Jonjo Shelvey’s opener.
Hayden and Fabian Schar had both gone down after being caught in the middle of a huddle as a Liverpool corner was delivered, with Hayden staying down and appearing to clutch his head.
However, play continued as Jota scored, much to the dismay of Newcastle. Despite valid protests, the goal stood. Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold went on to score in the remainder of the game.
Reflecting on the equaliser, Howe said: “I’m really disappointed with Liverpool’s first goal. I need to see it again but it was clear to me that Isaac went down holding his head immediately. In my opinion, the game should have been stopped.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… There is a lot of talk at the moment about head injuries and I felt that was a wrong decision.
“It’s had a huge bearing on the game. We had the lead. It feels unjust and I feel it was doubly hard on our players.
“I think [the referee Mike Dean] said to me he felt Isaac had held his back. For me, he held his head. He was dazed for four or five minutes. It’s a dangerous moment where we have to think about the player’s safety. I don’t think you want to see games decided when players are out of the game.
“I feel like we were really harshly treated today. It follows a similar pattern of games we’ve had where the decisions have gone against us for whatever reason.
“My feeling is the first goal and the decision for that had the key bearing on the result today and that’s the one that really aggrieves me tonight.”
Clarifying his comment on Hayden being “dazed for four or five minutes”, Howe added: “I think you can see with the fact he had treatment to the side of the pitch, that was where I made the comment from. You could see he was treated, then taken to the side and he still didn’t look 100 per cent himself.
“I’ve not spoken to Isaac after the game to see if there’s any lasting damage from the challenge, but he didn’t look in a good place. He immediately held his head, there was no acting. He was down and he couldn’t continue and we paid the price for it.”
But the overall performance was positive for Newcastle, with Howe reflecting: “The players really gave everything to the game physically. You could see that, Liverpool move the ball very fast and we had to work very hard to contain them, but I felt the players delivered that very well. We scored a great goal on the counter-attack , Maxi was a threat isolated moments of the game when we managed to feed him with the ball.
I’m probably disappointed with the second half on the ball. I felt we could have shown a bit more composure to open them up in those moments when we were in transitions.
;But in terms of what the players gave and their attitude and commitment to it, I thought we had a mentality about us today that we had against Leicester where we were right in the game until the end.I felt at any moment, we could get something today.