David Luiz says Mohamed Salah told him he didn’t feel the shirt tug which resulted in a penalty for Liverpool, but the Arsenal defender admitted he understands why the call was made.
With Liverpool up 1-0 after a Joel Matip goal late in the first half, the defender was judged to have pulled the shirt of Salah after the Egyptian moved to play a ball laid to him in the area by Roberto Firmino.
Referee Anthony Taylor showed little hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Salah buried the spot kick in the top corner to double Liverpool’s advantage.
The Egyptian would add a second to his total as he got past Luiz at the halfway line and delivered an impressive run and finish to make it 3-0 Liverpool, with the match finishing 3-1.
After the final whistle, Luiz and Salah were seen talking to one another and the defender has revealed the forward admitted he did not feel the pull on his shirt.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery called the decision soft post-match and Luiz echoed his manager, claiming the tug was not all that powerful.
“I spoke with Mo and he said 'I didn't feel you touch me, that's why I didn't go down to the floor,' but now with the VAR, you cannot see the power so it is difficult for the referees,” Luiz told Sky Sports. “He saw the shirt like that, but I don't know. It's difficult for them so I cannot complain with their efforts because it is difficult for them too.
“If you play with an extra-large shirt now, there could be a penalty every time. It's interpretation, so I think if you pull someone with power and you change his strength to go to the ball, it's different.
“It was just a reflex but that's it, it made the penalty and after that he gave me the yellow. So on the third goal I could not make the foul and put my team in trouble with 10 men. So I think it conditioned my game a bit after that and it was more difficult.”
When further questioned over the penalty, Luiz claimed the power of a shirt tug, thus the influence it has over play, is often difficult to judge.
However, he conceded that reason makes it tough to blame the referee for making the call.
“If I pull your shirt like that and if you put your hand like that, it's different, the power is different,” Luiz added. “That's what I said. With VAR it is difficult for them, they cannot see the power, so if I pull like this [gives demonstration] it's more power than just like this.
“So it depends on the interpretation, like I said. But if you see the shirt going like that it's also difficult for the referee to say it is not a penalty. That's why I don't judge him and complain against him. I'm just saying my view.
“The reflex is in one second you turn, you do, and you take [away your hand]. But it's like that, football is like that. We have to look forward. I spoke with Mo, he's my friend and he said he didn't feel that.
“But that's football. Football is like that.”