Longtime Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg joined the NBCSN crew before Sunday’s action to discuss a topic that’s been growing in relevance the past few weeks: Mohamed Salah and diving.
The Egyptian superstar has won several controversial penalties in the past few match days, and referees appear to be closely monitoring Salah.
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The Liverpool man was not awarded a penalty for a clear dive in Saturday’s 7-goal thriller with Crystal Palace, a match in which he was up for Man of the Match consideration for sensational play apart from any perceived simulation.
Clattenburg argues that Salah was fortunate not to receive a yellow in that situation, and notes a pattern in the player’s behavior: He goes down if the foul or perceived foul is in a non-scoring situation, but stays up if it’s outside the box or there’s a chance he could get a goal.
Liverpool fans will almost surely disagree given the evidence, but the argument is otherwise quite strong. There’s a difference between diving and simulation/exaggeration, and there’s little doubt the latter has become a part of Salah’s game (perhaps due to the increasing amount of defensive attention and fouling headed his way).