Rodgers denies referee bias slur

Brendan Rodgers insists his remarks about referee Lee Mason after Liverpool’s loss at Manchester City were not meant as an attack on the official’s integrity.

Liverpool boss Rodgers questioned the appointment of the official, who comes from Bolton in Greater Manchester, for the Reds’ Boxing Day clash against City at the Etihad Stadium.

Rodgers spoke out after the game as he expressed his frustration at a number of decisions made by Mason or his assistants during the 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat.

It’s understood that the Football Association has asked Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to explain his post-match comments.

Rodgers claims he was trying to make a valid point and did not intend to slight Mason.

He said: "In terms of geography, I certainly wasn’t questioning the integrity of referees.

"I fully understand the job. It was more than logical (as a comment) in terms of having a referee from that part of the world refereeing a game in Manchester.

"I wouldn’t suspect that Mike Dean, from the Wirral, has refereed many games for Liverpool over the years."

Rodgers, speaking to press again to preview Sunday’s game at Chelsea, would make his point to the FA if disciplinary action did follow.

He said: "I think it is probably something that naturally happens.

"I was only speaking honestly after the game. I think the FA and the Referees’ Association know perfectly well I am someone who engages in supporting the referees.

"I am not one that berates referees at all after games, I always respect them. I ask my staff to be respectful. We are never chasing fourth officials or anything on a matchday.

"I think they know when I come out and make a statement like I did yesterday – I was obviously emotional after the game, of course – it is obviously something I speak honestly on.

"Whatever action they take they will decide."

The FA does not appoint referees for Premier League fixtures, that is the responsibility of Professional Game Match Official Limited, the body headed by former referee Mike Riley.

Dean, incidentally, was dropped from the FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham in 2006 for geographical reasons.

Rodgers’ views on the various incidents in the game at City had also not changed.

Liverpool were frustrated by a number of decisions, most notably when Raheem Sterling was incorrectly flagged offside when clean through in the first half.

Rodgers said: "I think it was continuous throughout the game – the decision-making being poor. I think there was evidence of that.

"I have to speak on behalf of the supporters of this club. This club is an emotional investment for many millions of people throughout the world. As the manager I represent them.

"I am sure wherever they were throughout the world they would have been asking questions on the decision-making. I repeat, I didn’t think it was so good.

"I am sure it is something they will look at, but I will always fight my corner.

"That is the type I am, and always will be, but I respect the authorities. We will see what happens."