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Kyle Walker PRAISES referee Michael Oliver for ‘not crumbling to Anfield pressure’

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has praised referee Michael Oliver for maintaining composure and not succumbing to pressure during a contentious last-minute incident in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

The match featured a controversial challenge on Alexis Mac Allister by Jeremy Doku, sparking debates over whether a penalty should have been awarded.

Despite differing opinions, Walker praised Oliver’s handling of the situation and emphasized the referee’s experience and character.

In the dying moments of the game, Jeremy Doku made a chest-high challenge on Alexis Mac Allister, prompting appeals for a penalty from the Liverpool camp.

However, both the on-field referee, Michael Oliver, and the video assistant referee (VAR) deemed the incident not worthy of a foul.

Kyle Walker commended Oliver’s performance, acknowledging the difficulty of making crucial decisions at Anfield, where the crowd’s influence can be overwhelming.

“I think the referee did really well,” Walker stated in a post-match interview with Sky Sports. “I feel once you have the Anfield crowd behind them, he could’ve crumbled – but that shows his experience, that shows his character.

That’s why he’s regarded as probably one of the best referees in this country and the world at the minute.”

Despite Oliver’s decision, opinions on the incident remained divided. Alexis Mac Allister and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed their belief that it was a penalty.

Mac Allister, who had earlier equalized with a 50th-minute penalty, acknowledged Oliver’s overall performance but insisted that a mistake was made in the final decision.

In response to questions about the incident, Walker remained diplomatic, recognizing the controversy surrounding such judgments.

“It’s probably not for me to say if I think it’s a pen. If I say it’s not a pen, it’s headlines.

If I say it is a pen, it’s headlines. The VAR’s checked it, the ref’s done it – that’s all I’m going to say on that,” he remarked.

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean weighed in on the incident, offering a nuanced perspective. Dean acknowledged that Doku had touched the ball but emphasized the significance of the follow-through, which caught Mac Allister in the chest.

The decision ultimately rested on the VAR, highlighting the challenges faced by officials in making split-second judgments in high-stakes matches.

Premier League Title Race: The 1-1 draw leaves Liverpool trailing Premier League leaders Arsenal on goal difference, with Manchester City a point further behind.

All three contenders have 10 games remaining, and Walker remains optimistic about Manchester City’s chances of securing a historic fourth consecutive league title.

“I don’t think anyone’s got the edge,” Walker noted. “We’ve all got some tough games [to come].

There’s a lot of football to be played, and hopefully, for Manchester City, we go and do four in a row, which no one’s ever done.”

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