Ngog Faces Diving Storm
Angry Birmingham City players and management accused Liverpool’s David Ngog of cheating after the striker earned a controversial penalty for a 2-2 draw at Anfield on Monday.
Birmingham were leading 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining when Ngog went to the ground after a challenge by Birmingham’s Lee Carsley. Television replays showed no contact had been made.
“You are supposed to be teaching your kids an example and this is just an embarrassing case of cheating,” Carsley was quoted as saying by British media.
“I was absolutely nowhere near him. It’s a joke. I know I didn’t touch him and I said to the referee to book me or send me off. That would have made me feel better.”
The point left Birmingham in 15th place, just above the relegation zone, and manager Alex McLeish was also frustrated by referee Peter Walton’s decision.
“Ngog dived. It was a terrific dive,” McLeish said. “Sometimes there is a debate over a penalty when there is contact but there was none here.
“It was not even close to being a penalty.”
The incident dominated Tuesday’s back pages, with the best-selling tabloid Sun newspaper running the headline “Cheat.”
The match added to pressure on Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, with his injury-depleted team in seventh place and 11 behind leaders Chelsea.
Albert Riera, Yossi Benayoun and Daniel Agger all suffered knocks, while Spanish striker Fernando Torres did not even make the match day squad as he battles with a groin injury.
Of greater concern is the fitness of Torres, and while Liverpool’s next game against Manchester City is not until November 21 because of the international break, Benitez said the Spanish international may not even be ready then.
“Torres had no confidence and said he couldn’t play, so we started the treatment yesterday,” Benitez said.
“He has to work with the physios and try to improve and be ready. We are not talking about an operation at this moment.