The red card incident not replayed live on TV – Was £52m LFC star lucky to escape a red card or did VAR get it right?

While Liverpool dominated Manchester United for the full 90 minutes as well as the four added minutes at Anfield on Tuesday, two players from either side could have been sent off on a different night.

United fans have praised Hannibal Mejbri for his passionate cameo but the 19-year-old may have been sent off by a less understanding referee.

Within four minutes of coming onto the pitch for Anthony Elanga, Mejbri was shown a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Jordan Henderson.

Mejbri Hannibal and Andy Robertson

It seemed as though the emotion of playing against Liverpool while being 3-0 down got to the youngster.

A minute later, he received a lazy ball from Harry Maguire but his second touch let him down and he gave the ball away to Andy Robertson.

The Scotsman quickly moved the ball onto Diogo Jota, whose brilliant through ball found Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian’s clipped finish had a little bit of help as Aaron Wan Bissaka helped loop the ball over David De Gea, who has now conceded 9 goals against Liverpool this season.

Mohamed Salah

In the buildup, Mejbri brought down Jota but nothing was made of it due to Liverpool’s fourth goal of the net sending Anfield into delirium but Martin Atkinson would have another word with him after he barged into the back of Naby Keita, telling the teenager to calm down or he would be sent off for his next foul.

It was a kindness from the referee to a young player clearly caught up in the mania of the game which was extended to Naby Keita in the 85th minute after he appeared to stand on Jesse Lingard after a late challenge.

Keita appeared to follow in the footsteps of the last man to wear Liverpool’s no.8 as he came off the bench and within 5 minutes, there was a VAR Review over a potential red card for his alleged stamp on Lingard.

The replay that the VAR team would have looked at was not shown on TV so there aren’t any screenshots but the Guinean may consider himself fortunate as it was a lazy, reckless move.

It reminded me of when Steven Gerrard came on against Manchester United in 2015 and was sent off 38 seconds later for a stamp on Ander Herrera.

Gerrard and Herrera

It certainly wasn’t quite as bad or as blatant but it’s not the first time Keita has got away with borderline red card challenges.

He could have been sent off in the Carabao Cup final for his high boot on Trevor Chalobah but was lucky to only receive a yellow card.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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