Former Republic of Ireland forward John Aldridge disagrees with his ex-international teammate Tony Cascarino regarding the penalty Mo Salah won against West Ham on Saturday.
Mo Salah went to ground under the challenge from West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku and the Liverpool forward made no mistake with the resulting penalty to draw the Reds level in the first half of the hosts’ 2-1 win at Anfield.
The manner in which Salah went down has sparked a significant debate, particularly in the context of the response to a similar reaction from Spurs centre-forward Harry Kane 24 hours later to win a penalty of his own.
One of the most jarring headlines came from a Times piece penned by Tony Cascarino, who suggested that Salah’s “dive showed game Nobby Stiles loved is disappearing”.
Cascarino’s former Ireland teammate, John Aldridge, does not share that opinion though.
Aldridge insisted that every intelligent forward would do what Salah did and make the referee’s mind up when it comes to contact in the box.
Writing in his Liverpool Echo column, Aldridge wrote: “Yes Mo went to ground quite easily but he was kicked and, whether people like it or not, that is what you have to do to get the reaction from the referee.
“It would be much better if referees would give a foul when players try to stay on their feet but they never, ever do and, as I’ve said many times before, until officials do start doing that players will feel they’ve got no option but to hit the deck.
“If defenders are naive enough to get too close to Salah or Harry Kane or whoever and hit them, it’s their fault for getting suckered in.
“I used to make sure that if it was a 50/50 ball between me and the defender I would get to the ball first and if he’s soft enough to go in on me, I’m going down and getting a penalty, end of story.
“As Rushie, Robbie or any player, we’ve all done it but it’s drawing the foul. There’s a world of difference between that and going down when there’s no contact.
“All I would say is it’s a fine balance and you don’t want to want to be making too much of a show of it, just go down as normally and naturally as possible because the danger is if it looks too fake you won’t get the decision and may end up with a reputation.
“The reality is for many, or even most, players now it is a habit, something they’ve been doing since their teens and when kids grow up seeing the likes of Klinsmann, Ronaldo and others do it they will follow them.
“I do think Mo has to be more subtle about it because he’s already missed out on a lot of penalties he should have had for Liverpool because of his reactions.
“The way he plays with getting in the box so often and how he uses his body against defenders means he’ll always put defenders under pressure.”