Darren Bent has slammed Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for his error that led to Liverpool’s second goal in the Magpies’ 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday.
The stopper came rushing out to intercept a through pass from Roberto Firmino, but only succeeded in knocking the ball on to Sadio Mane, who was left with a tap-in.
And Sky pundit Bent has been quick to call out the 30-year-old’s mistake.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “There’s no debate about that whatsoever. He’s come out and I think he’s misjudged it.
“He’s come out and it’s come off his knee, as a goalkeeper these things can’t happen, especially at a club like Newcastle. Their backs are against the wall, they’re scrapping for their lives. Even though it’s five games into the season, they’re scrapping.
“You need your goalkeeper not to make such schoolboy errors. He came out, clearly got there before Mane, all he’s got to do is claim it with his hands, get up and go again. He misjudges it, bounces off his knee, over his head and Mane has a tap in. That second one changed the momentum massively.”
You would have to agree with Bent on this one, but perhaps things aren’t as black and white as they first appear. Certainly, on gut reaction, you would expect Dubravka to be pretty gutted with the manner in which he has dealt with Firmino’s pass. Sure, he is under pressure from an onrushing Mane, but in that situation you would want your goalkeeper to cushion to ball as it comes into his body, reducing the risk of it bouncing off of him. Instead, Dubravka has not been in full control of his slide, and has thus raised his knee too high, creating a barrier off which the ball can cannon away from him. In that respect, he is in the wrong, but if you rewind the incident even further, you have to question the defending. Firmino’s ball is exquisite, no doubt, but it is also straight and central, and there’s a strong argument that Jamal Lascelles shouldn’t be taken out of the game so easily. Just before the ball is played, however, he shifts his weight slightly and is literally caught on his heels. Make no mistake, it’s poor from Dubravka, but his teammates aren’t entirely faultless either.