By Keith Hackett

12th Sep, 2022 | 4:11pm

Ex-Fifa official slams 'nonsense' as James Milner controversy at Liverpool analysed

Keith Hackett has claimed the penalty Liverpool midfielder James Milner conceded against Napoli was “harsh”.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Fifa and Premier League official said the referee “guessed” and did not have a clear view of the incident.

As shown on BT Sport (7 September), Napoli were awarded a penalty when a shot deflected off Milner’s arm.

Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande pointed to the spot and VAR chose not to intervene.

Napoli went on to win 4-1 over Jurgen Klopp’s side.

When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of the incident, Hackett said: “I think the problem is that James Milner kept a straight arm.

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“It was not a bent arm. I would have been looking in that situation for a bent arm to give me some guidance. He has got a straight arm out and there you are.

“Is it deliberate? Is it denying a goal?

“The referee has not got a chance. I think the referee guessed, quite frankly. You can see from his position that he cannot see. He has not chance of seeing from there.

“I think there are two things that come into play and make it a harsh decision. I think it is a harsh call. The distance has to be considered. Was Milner trying to take evasive action? He has not got much chance to withdraw his arm.

“I think it was given because Milner’s arm was straight rather than bent. It is a harsh call but I can see the justification for it.

“This is the nonsense of the handball law.”

In other news, Robinson singles out five Liverpool stars as the ‘biggest problem’ is identified.