'That was a dive AND a penalty': Mohamed Salah earns spot-kick as Liverpool go top at Cardiff
Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum repaid the faith shown in him by boss Jurgen Klopp as he hammered home from a corner to ease Liverpool's nerves after 56 tense minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium.
And when Salah went down in the penalty area under pressure from defender Sean Morrison, referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot, leaving James Milner to slam home the resulting penalty.
Morrison was clearly holding the Egyptian striker as he controlled the ball inside the penalty area, but the manner of the Liverpool number 11's fall to the turf didn't sit well with some fans online.
Former pro David Preece said the incident warranted a penalty, but nonetheless noted Salah's sudden fall to the turf as a dive.
Daft by Morrison. Dive by Salah. Both can be true.— David Preece (@davidpreece12) April 21, 2019
Everyone seems to be making the point that if he didn’t dive then he wouldn’t get the penalty. So it’s a dive then, yes?— David Preece (@davidpreece12) April 21, 2019
Writer Seb Stafford-Bloor agreed, tweeting: "That was a dive and a penalty.
"Because... Morrison can't defend like that. Salah is being fouled, but it's given because he throws himself to the floor. It's correct for the wrong reasons."
That was a dive and a penalty.— Seb Stafford-Bloor (@SebSB) April 21, 2019
Because...Morrison can’t defend like that. Salah is being fouled, but it’s given because he throws himself to the floor. It’s correct for the wrong reasons.— Seb Stafford-Bloor (@SebSB) April 21, 2019
Despite many neutrals sharing the above view, it didn't stop some tweeters from critizing Salah for going to ground too easily.
There was a notable contrast in the reaction to the incident from journalists in Liverpool and Manchester as their respective sides battle it out for the Premier League title.
The Liverpool Echo's James Pearce tweeted: "There can't be a debate about that penalty. Absolutely nailed on. Just pure stupidity from Morrison. Fouled Salah 2 or 3 times."
There can't be a debate about that penalty. Absolutely nailed on. Just pure stupidity from Morrison. Fouled Salah 2 or 3 times.— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) April 21, 2019
But that view wasn't shared by Todd Fitzgerald from the Manchester Evening News, who tweeted: "Salah dives. Again. Throws himself to the floor. Again. Pathetic."
Salah dives. Again. Throws himself to the floor. Again. Pathetic.— Todd Fitzgerald (@TFitzgeraldMEN) April 21, 2019
Liverpool's victory meant they leapfrogged Manchester City to return to the top of the table and put themselves two points clear with just three league games left to play.
City, however, have a game in hand - the Manchester derby against cross-town rivals United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night - but know that anything other than victory will put their title destiny in Liverpool's hands.
April 24: Manchester United vs Manchester City
April 26: Liverpool vs Huddersfield Town
April 28: Burnley vs Manchester City
May 4: Newcastle United vs Liverpool
May 6: Manchester City vs Leicester City
May 12: Liverpool vs Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester City