Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been accused of diving into a clash with Virgil van Dijk to earn a penalty against Liverpool.
The Cottagers stunned the Reds at Craven Cottage in their Premier League opener, and as Liverpool came back to draw 2-2 there was controversy surrounding the hosts’ second goal.
A prolific player in the Championship, there have been serious doubts about Mitrovic returning to Premier League football after struggling to perform in the top flight.
He answered those doubts in perfect style with two goals as Fulham stunned Jurgen Klopp’s side with a high-energy display, but there will be questions asked about his second strike from the spot.
Collecting the ball outside the box, Mitrovic dribbled into the area looking to tackle Van Dijk, and let the referee point immediately to the spot as he headed for the ground.
Initially, it looked like Van Dijk had taken the ball away from the defender, with the defender waving his arms to tell the striker to get up.
The replays, however, told a different story as the Dutchman didn’t actually touch the ball.
Whether or not there was conduct was also up for debate and talkSPORT pundit Andy Townsend had no doubts – Mitrovic dived.
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“I saw Van Dijk say to the referee, ‘no chance’ and it looked like Mitrovic went down a little easy, for me,” Townsend said from the Craven Cottage comment box.
“Does he offer a leg to Van Dijk? I’m not sure he touches it, but either way, it’s not a good defense.
“I haven’t seen many contacts and if there’s no contract, you can’t give it away.
“It feels like a dip to me. He didn’t touch it.
“The referee has to look at the monitor over there. If there is serious doubt as to whether it was a penalty, he only has to look at the monitor.
“It’s a disputed pen, I haven’t seen many contacts.
“I would like to hear the conversation between the referees. We should be able to. No one on this pitch had any idea what was going on, so we should.
Townsend was full of praise for Mitrovic’s performance and said he deserved his two goals no matter how controversial the penalty was.
“However, I think Mitrovic played very well today,” he added.
“He’s not going to win a running race with people like Van Dijk, but he played his own game perfectly.
“He led the line well, held it, his first header was fantastic and he came into the box with the ball at his feet for that penalty.
“It will be interesting to see what he can do for Fulham this season. He’s been outstanding, really.
However, not everyone agreed with Townsend as former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor tweeted that he thought it was definitely a penalty, adding that he thought the Reds were still on holiday.
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