Horror Fabinho challenge on Evan Ferguson.
Pundits have been speaking out on Fabinho’s horror challenge on young Ireland forward Evan Ferguson, during Liverpool’s FA Cup defeat at Brighton on Sunday.
With the fourth round tie locked at 1-1 heading towards injury time, the Liverpool substitute appeared to plant his studs into the achilles of Ferguson, leaving the 18-year-old writhing in pain before limping off.
While an injury-time Kaoru Mitoma winner will have lifted the Seagull’s spirits, there will still be concern for their young striker who likely faces a spell out of the team.
Many of those watching have criticised VAR official Neil Swarbrick for failing to advise that Fabinho should have received a red card for the challenge, including former Brighton striker Glenn Murray, who was on ITV punditry duty.
Glenn Murray on Fabinho challenge.
“For me, that’s a match-changing incident, so it needs to be reviewed,” he said.
“I can’t understand how the VAR referee Neil Swarbrick can say that isn’t a red. It’s a terrible challenge. You can see from the player’s reaction, he knows it’s a red.
“He’s just waiting to be sent off and, somehow, he remains on the field. That’s just me as a professional footballer, not as an ex-Brighton player.”
Sorry but htf has Fabinho got away with this, 100% red??#LiVARpool do it again #FA you're a total joke!!
That is a terrible challenge & every man dog & women knows it!#BHALIV pic.twitter.com/E0G2jqAfAV
— Steve Neary (@steveneary66) January 29, 2023
Chris Sutton and Ally McCoist.
BBC pundit Chris Sutton was in agreement on Monday morning, writing in his Daily Mail column that “The guilt was written all over Fabinho‘s face”.
“He knew his challenge from behind on Brighton‘s young striker Evan Ferguson was bad,” added the former Blackburn Rovers striker. “He knew his studs had sunk into Ferguson’s leg. He knew it was worthy of a red card.
“Yet somehow, even with Neil Swarbrick as VAR, Fabinho remained on the field. The midfielder escaped punishment when every right-minded fan knew he should have been dismissed.
“Referee David Coote missed it in real time and Swarbrick messed up from Stockley Park.”
Over on talkSPORT, Ally McCoist described Fabinho’s challenge as “dangerous and reckless,” and there aren’t many disagreeing with those views.
“It’s dangerous. It’s reckless!” 🤯🟥
“I don’t actually think he means to hurt him. He completely mistimes it. It’s a red.”
🇧🇷 Ally McCoist is shocked that Fabinho wasn’t sent off for his tackle on Ferguson. pic.twitter.com/33LFOKZUaj
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 30, 2023
After the game, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said that Ferguson will be assessed, with the injury coming just as the striker’s recent performances have catapulted him into the public eye in England.
Ferguson has scored three goals and provided two assists for the south coast club since forcing his way into the team at the beginning of January, and Ireland fans will now be anxiously waiting on news of his injury.