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Liverpool drop-ball decision vs Nottingham Forest 'monumental error' from referee Paul Tierney, says Mike Dean

Nottingham Forest's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday ended in chaos and controversy over referee Paul Tierney's decision not to return the ball to Forest following a head injury; Former Premier League referee Mike Dean has called Tierney's decision a "monumental error"

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Former referee Mike Dean admitted that the referee made a big error in the build-up to Liverpool's winning goal at Nottingham Forest

Former Premier League referee Mike Dean says Paul Tierney made a "monumental error" in the build-up to Darwin Nunez's 99th-minute winner for Liverpool against Nottingham Forest which sparked chaotic scenes at the City Ground.

Forest were hugely frustrated that the ball had been returned to Liverpool shortly before the decisive goal went in, following a head injury to Ibrahima Konate with the home team in possession.

It later emerged that referee Tierney should have given the ball back to Forest, with the incident occuring two minutes before Liverpool's dramatic winner, and Sky Sports pundit Dean has called the decision a "monumental error" and a "big mistake".

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Watch as referee Paul Tierney incorrectly gave Liverpool an uncontested drop ball when he stopped play for a head injury despite Nottingham Forest having the ball

"Unfortunately, it is a mistake and it's a bad one, because it leads eventually to a goal," said Dean, speaking on Sky Sports News.

"The law states that whoever has the ball last when play is stopped, the ball is returned to them. Callum Hudson-Odoi clearly had the ball, and the ball should have been given back to Nottingham Forest.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool

"There has been a big fallout and rightly so, it's a big error by the match referee. It's something they are going to have to live and learn from - it's a mistake, we all know it's a mistake.

"It is right [that we focus attention on it] because the incident is wrong in law. It's a monumental error. The drop ball law is there for a reason."

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'The chairman should not get involved'

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The Soccer Saturday team reacts to scenes at the end of Nottingham Forest's match at home to Liverpool

Evangelos Marinakis, the Forest owner, appeared pitch-side as others remonstrated with the officials after the final whistle blew.

Forest coach Steven Reid was shown a red card after heated scenes on the benches, before chaos broke out at full time, prompting Marinakis to march onto the pitch to confront officials.

Dean said: "The chairman was on the pitch at the end, we don't want to see things like that. We don't need scenes like that after a game.

"Clearly Nottingham Forest are upset, I would have been upset, but unfortunately it's a monumental error. The referee will know that. Hopefully he can rectify that in the future.

"I was surprised the chairman came down, that shouldn't happen, he shouldn't be on the pitch - I've never seen it before in the Premier League."

Clattenburg: It is difficult to explain it

Referee Paul Tierney came in for scrutiny for his decision-making towards the end of Liverpool's Premier League win at Nottingham Forest
Image: Referee Paul Tierney has came in for intense scrutiny

While Forest boss Nuno would not discuss the subject, Mark Clattenburg, the former Premier League referee who is now working in a refereeing analysis role for Nottingham Forest, was more forthcoming.

"Under the laws of the game, the team that has possession when he blows the whistle to stop the game - he is entitled to stop the game because it is a potential head injury - but whoever has the possession, the ball goes back to that team and the other team retreat one metre," said Clattenburg.

"They changed the law because they did not want a contested drop ball. So, years ago when we had contested drop balls, players used to swing legs and people could get injured so I understand the law change. But the laws state that certainly if the ball is outside of the penalty area and you have possession of the ball, you get possession back."

Clattenburg said that he will be speaking to the Forest hierarchy about what happened. "I will sit down with the board and the owners to explain what has happened. It is difficult to explain it." But there has been no dialogue with Tierney himself. "No, I went to go into the dressing room but he would not let us in."

Neville: Clubs need to show more restraint - mistakes happen

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Gary Neville says it was mistake by referee Paul Tierney to award Liverpool an uncontested drop ball after defender Ibrahima Konate went down injured, however he believed Nottingham Forest had plenty of time to prevent the late Nunez's winner

A different view was taken by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville on his latest podcast, who says clubs need to exercise "better restraint" or risk inciting "anger and hatred" towards referees.

He said: "There is no doubt the Nottingham Forest player is in possession, but the goal came a minute and 50 [seconds] after that. Two minutes in football is an absolute age.

"The idea that is was a 'monumental error', I get the fact it was a mistake, a frustration, but I get the feeling now that we're making too much out of what I feel is a run-of-the-mill error. You see them quite regularly in a season.

"The owner on the pitch and the Mark Clattenburg nonsense, I can't buy into. I feel we are pushing the boundaries, and inciting anger and hate towards referees. To me it's an error, it's just a mistake. We don't know Liverpool wouldn't have scored anyway.

"At the moment we need to show a bit of restraint. I don't feel it's as bad as we're making out. Clattenburg is all over the radio - what do they want? A replay of the match? Clubs don't seem to accept there are times where you get a bad decision against you."

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