Arsenal defender David Luiz has defended his shirt pull on Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah during his side’s 3-1 defeat on Saturday outlining that it was “just a reflex” and should not have been a penalty.
The Gunners, were 1-0 down thanks to a Joel Matip header in the first half but fell further behind early in the second when Salah emphatically struck home a penalty to put Jurgen Klopp’s men in full control.
Salah had been brought down by what appeared to be a blatant pull on his shirt by Luiz with the Egyptian bearing down on the Arsenal goal.
VAR confirmed the decision however the Brazilian defender didn’t feel like it warranted a penalty, explaining to Sky Sports after the game that Salah had told him he didn’t feel contact during the incident.
“Yes [it was instinctive], I think you cannot take this out of the players, it’s just a reflex.
“When I turn I see and I take but I take off the power [of the pull]. That’s when I spoke with Momo [Salah] and he said, ‘I didn’t feel you touch me, that’s why I didn’t go down to the floor’.
“But now the VAR you cannot see the power [of the shirt pull] so it’s difficult for the referees, he saw the shirt like that.
“It’s difficult for them, so I cannot complain to the referees.
“If you play with an extra-large shirt now it could be a penalty every time. It’s interpretation. If you pull someone with power and you stop him trying to go to the ball it’s different. This was just a reflex.
"It's just a reflex…"
David Luiz gives his verdict on the penalty given against him today, admitting the yellow card contributed to Liverpool's third goal. ⚠
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 24, 2019
Liverpool went on to win the game easily by 3-1 with Salah getting on the scoresheet once again to maintain their 100% start to the new campaign.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery echoed the sentiments of his defender Luiz saying after the game that he found the penalty to be a very soft decision.
“The penalty was the key to the game but it was very soft,” Emery said. “If that is considered holding then I don’t think it was enough.”