Graham Poll: Jay Spearing had to be sent off

Spearing was out of control! Friend had to give Liverpool midfielder his marching orders

Kevin Friend was right to dismiss Jay Spearing for his lunging challenge on Moussa Dembele despite the fact the Liverpool man played the ball before catching his opponent.

Spearing was out of control of his forward movement and the force at which he caught the Fulham forward led Friend to dismiss him for serious foul play.

Lunge: Jay Spearing fouls Fulham

Lunge: Jay Spearing fouls Fulham”s Moussa Dembele before being sent off

The primary concern for a referee is the safety of the players and if a reckless challenge endangers that safety then the player must be sent off.

Looking at the pictures it is hard to disagree that the challenge was reckless and endangered Dembele’s safety. I have long argued that playing the ball does not make a player exempt from disciplinary action; the challenge from Spearing proves that.

Lucky: Philippe Senderos (left) could have been sent off for Fulham

Lucky: Philippe Senderos (left) could have been sent off for Fulham

Liverpool can argue that Fulham should also have been reduced to 10 men as Phillipe Senderos committed two clear cautionable offences. The first was a very good decision from Friend as the Swiss defender brought Charlie Adam down right on the edge of the Fulham penalty area.

It was a close call but a correct one as was the decision to show a yellow card as it was not the denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Senderos was later seen on TV to have pulled Andy Carroll back as Liverpool broke forward; had Friend seen that he would have sent Senderos off.

But of course he doesn’t have the luxury of video replays.