VARs reason for not sending off Liverpool star Sadio Mane after flying elbow vs Chelsea

Chelsea v Liverpool pictures

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The Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool produced its bi-annual drama for neutrals on Sunday afternoon. Despite the top-quality goals and some superb individual performances, the headlines were already written after six seconds of the tie when Sadio Mane elbowed Cesar Azpilicueta in the face but only received a yellow card for the foul.

The Reds took the lead in the match in the 9th minute when Mane pounced upon a Trevoh Chalobah mistake and rounded Edouard Mendy before firing into the back of the net.

One then became two when Mohamed Salah scored his 16th of the season when he lofted a neat strike part Mendy from a tight angle.

But Thomas Tuchel’s men rallied back before the half-time break when Mateo Kovacic struck a superb volley in off the post from 25 yards out in the 42nd minute.

Then four minutes later, Christian Pulisic capped off a well-worked attack with a strike into the top corner past Caoimhim Kelleher to ensure that the points were shared between the two title challengers.

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But despite battling back from two goals down for the draw, the Blues left the game feeling aggrieved as they felt Mane should have been dismissed inside the opening minute of the tie.

Although there was clear contact and the collision was dangerous, it is understood that the reason that the Senegalese forward was not dismissed was becuase his elbow wasn’t swinging.

Therefore, VAR deemed that the collision was reckless rather than violent conduct.

Mane’s yellow card was the fastest in Premier League history, but Tuchel’s side will be feeling that if the card awarded by Anthony Taylor was red then they would have gone on to beat Jurgen Klopp’s men.

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Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Azpilicueta revealed his frustrations at the outcome of the collision, he said: “It’s a clear red. It doesn’t matter if it’s five seconds into the game.

“He doesn’t want to challenge, he doesn’t see the ball he just wanted to hit with the elbow.

“Today the first action is a clear red card. And clearly we are getting these decisions against us and it could change a lot the way of the game.”

The Chelsea captain then went on to point the finger at the standard of officiating throughout the course of the season, pleading for more consistency from one game to another.

“Sometimes we see joke of penalties and sometimes we see dangerous actions and we don’t take action,” said the Spaniard.

“We see there are few games where referees become a bit softer in terms of penalties or red cards then it turns opposite you know because they speak I don’t know what happens.

“We don’t see the same consistency in the same game or even through the season. It’s disappointing these kinds of decisions are clear, I watched the replay, I didn’t even need this because in life I knew that it was a clear red.”

It remains to be seen whether there are any repercussions for the 32-year-old’s angered outburst or whether it may be brushed over.

On the other hand, Mane will be joining up with Chelsea shot-stopper Edouard Mendy for the African Cup of Nations very shortly and thus be absent from Klopp’s teamsheet in the short term.

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