Wolves defender Roger Johnson played a doubly integral role in the 11th minute own-goal that was credited to him. Sure, his diving header put LFC midfielder Charlie Adam's wayward-bound shot past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. His clearing header moments before Adam's effort created the opportunity that lead to Liverpool taking a 1-0 lead.
Controversy surrounds the goal because Liverpool striker Andy Carroll appeared to push the airborne Johnson as he was making the header. Johnson fell to the ground after contact, recovered to his feet, only to attempt a diving header to intercept Adam's shot (why he didn’t use his feet is baffling). This all took place in a matter of seconds.
Johnson claimed Carroll fouled him in comments he made on Wolves' website. He said, "I don't feel there was a push, it was an obvious push. I knew it when it happened and I've seen it on the video."
"The ref doesn't give it but there's no point arguing about it afterwards because it's done. It led to the goal so it's disappointing and the ref was in a good position. He said afterwards he didn't see it as a foul."
The incident had Wolves manager Mick McCarthy seething after the game. The Liverpool Echo reports McCarthy said, "… we conceded a goal, for which I thought Roger Johnson was fouled by Carroll and I was annoyed about that."
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish did not comment on the incident, but praised Carroll's contribution to the winning effort. He told LiverpoolFC.tv, "(He did) everything except score a goal. We couldn't have got much more out of the big fella today and we were delighted with him and for him."
Mark this down as a blown call by referee Kevin Friend. Johnson was in the air and heading the ball when Carroll made contact. Carroll's a strong player, but the fact that his left arm was stretched outward as Johnson went to the ground shows the towering striker made a pushing motion against the defender. This was an off-the-ball foul and Friend should not have allowed play to continue.
Liverpool supporters and other observers weighed in on the incident:
@CasparWayyyy: Clear foul by carroll…
@bmthlfc: I can see where Johnson is coming from but I don't think it was a foul by Carroll. Roger was able to head it just normally. #LFC
@Zepsis: How does crouchy get away with his fouls yet #Carroll cannot even go near an opponent for a foul to be given
@xv_brigada: Going overkill on this Carroll "foul" before the goal. It was a 50/50 call. Think the referee got the decision right.
@JoelRadaj: Notably, that was probably the first time this season Carroll has won a 50-50 ball and not been whistled for a foul.
@mj_english: Defenders give as good as they get against Andy Carroll.Hypocritical, they hate seeing strikers go down easy. Roger Johnson #GetOnTheWeights
@supergirthuk: Never a foul by Carroll on the lead up to the first goal. If a Prem centreback goes down so cheaply he deserves what he got, nothing. #LFC
Did you see Carroll's contact on Johnson? If so, what do you think? Vote in the poll below.
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