Date: 7th May 2019 at 8:40am
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Many Newcastle supporters have been reacting on social media to comments made by former England midfielder John Barnes relating to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s handball incident in our cruel 3-2 defeat.

Barnes discussed the incident while working as a pundit for BeIN Sports, and told Richard Keys and Andy Gray that he was happy referee Andre Marriner did not show the English right-back a straight red card for deliberately using an illegal part of his body to deny Salomon Rondon from scoring.

Instead, Marriner awarded us a goal as Christian Atsu had fired home the rebound to get us back in the game at 1-1, much to Rondon’s frustration, as the Venezuelan berated the official for not awarding a penalty and a red card while our Ghanaian celebrated his first goal of the season.

Alexander-Arnold would then go on to assist Mohamed Salah’s 28th-minute striker to put the Merseyside outfit back ahead, and Barnes admitted his joy in not seeing the 20-year-old sent off.

“Absolutely [I’m happy],” Barnes said. “Because, of course, they would have got a penalty, he would have been sent off, and Liverpool would have been down to 10 men.

“He created the goal for Mo Salah. Could it be fate [helping Liverpool]?”

Not only was Alexander-Arnold not shown a straight red card as the referee gave the goal instead, but Marriner also opted against showing the Reds’ right-back a yellow card, which former Premier League official Dermot Gallagher feels was where the wrong decision was made.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch on Monday, Gallagher said: “The offence he would have been guilty of was denying a goal – but that didn’t happen, as Atsu scored from the rebound. The referee hasn’t got time to whistle to give a penalty.

“What would have put a lid on it would have been if Alexander-Arnold was yellow carded for handball. For some reason, the referee didn’t book him – that’s the only punishment he could have received.

“He hasn’t denied a goal [as Atsu scored], so the referee can’t send him off. It was fortuitous for both, as would Newcastle want a goal chalked off [so that they are playing against ten men for 70 minutes]?”

From the reactions of these Magpies supporters to Barnes’ comments, the answer to Gallagher’s question is a resounding yes…

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