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Gary Neville insists drop-ball error that led to Liverpool winner at Nottingham Forest was 'not a shocker'

Darwin Nunez scored 99th-minute winner for Liverpool at Nottingham Forest on Saturday; goal came shortly after referee incorrectly handed possession back to visitors with drop ball; Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis confronted officials, while Mike Dean called it a "monumental error"

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

Gary Neville has refuted Mike Dean's claim that Liverpool's winner at Nottingham Forest on Saturday came as a result of a "monumental error" from referee Paul Tierney.

Darwin Nunez scored in the 99th minute at the City Ground to keep Liverpool on top of the Premier League but Forest were furious at a mistake made by the officials in the build-up to the goal.

Forest had possession in an attacking position when Tierney stopped play due to a head injury to Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate and then returned the ball to the visitors - instead of the hosts - when play restarted.

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

It took nearly two minutes after having the ball mistakenly handed back to them for Liverpool to score but that did not stop Forest reacting furiously, with Evangelos Marinakis, the club's owner, confronting the officials during chaotic scenes at the final whistle.

Speaking on Sunday, Dean - a former Premier League referee - heavily criticised his former colleague Tierney, but speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, Neville insisted too much was being made of the mistake.

"I saw Mike Dean's interview earlier today, where he described it as a 'monumental error'," said Neville. "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 it 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."

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Neville also hit out at Mark Clattenburg, the former Premier League referee who is now working in a refereeing analysis role with Forest and told the media that Tierney's error was "difficult to explain".

"The owner on the pitch and the Mark Clattenburg nonsense, I can't buy into," said Neville. "I feel we are pushing the boundaries, and inciting anger and hate towards referees [with] some of the action clubs are taking.

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

"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.

"The angle this season is that there almost needs to be retribution or revenge, greater action, rather than just thinking 'you're going to get a shocker against you at some point'. That's football.

"I didn't even think that decision was a shocker. It was bad, not a shocker."

Dean: Tierney made 'monumental error'

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

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

"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.

"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."

However, Dean criticised Marinakis - who has previously been booked by officials for his touchline protests as owner of Greek side Olympiakos - for his behaviour at the final whistle.

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

"Clearly Nottingham Forest are upset. I would have been upset. 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: Mistake difficult to explain

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Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo was left frustrated with some of the refereeing decisions that enabled Liverpool to snatch a 99th-minute winner against his side

Nuno Espirito Santo, the Forest manager, did not want to discuss the drop-ball error, but Clattenburg was more forthcoming, saying: "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 - the ball goes back to that team and the other team retreat one metre.

"They changed the law because they did not want a contested drop ball. 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 added: "I will sit down with the board and the owners to explain what has happened. It is difficult to explain it."

Clattenburg suggested he had tried to speak to Tierney, saying. "I went to go into the dressing room but he would not let us in."

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