Liverpool generally find a few demons lurking around Selhurst Park whenever they play Crystal Palace, but this afternoon they found fortune where they usually find calamity.
Despite being subbed after 63 minutes, Sadio Mané had an extremely busy afternoon, finding himself at the heart of most of the game's talking points. Having glanced a header narrowly wide minutes before Palace took the lead form the penalty spot, he then had a goal (rightly) disallowed for offside.
Mané then got himself booked for diving in the Palace penalty area. James McArthur slid in on the Liverpool forward and definitely made a bit of contact, but Mané did not fall to the ground immediately. Instead, he threw himself to the ground a second later, having lost possession. In spite of Liverpool's protestations, referee Neil Swarbrick booked Mané.
Then, in the second half, Mané went down under pressure on the edge of Liverpool's penalty area. Clearly feeling that he had been fouled, Mané gathered the ball into his arms. Swarbrick did not give Mané his free, and instead gave it to Palace for handball. Somehow, the referee did not give Mané a second yellow, despite a deliberate handball clearly labelled as a yellow card offence.
It stoked a bit of reaction:
And why Liverpool’s Mane has not been sent off explains why English match officials are not going the World Cup for the first time since 1938.
— Hector (@HectorMarimo) March 31, 2018
Mane just picking the ball up in the middle of a game > Istanbul
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) March 31, 2018
Mane very lucky to escape red card at Selhurst Park. Already booked for diving, he picked ball up when he thought he was fouled. No second yellow. Bizarre decision.
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) March 31, 2018
Liverpool ended up winning 2-1, boosting them to second in the table, albeit having played more games than their top-four rivals. Palace, meanwhile, remain 16th, two points clear of safety.