West Ham skipper Mark Noble argued his tackle that saw him sent off against Liverpool was did not warrant a yellow card, let alone a red.
While Noble was thrilled with West Ham’s “special” 3-0 win at Anfield – the Upton Park outfit had not triumphed away to Liverpool since 1963 – the central midfielder was baffled at referee Kevin Friend’s decision to send him off in the 78th minute.
Noble was given his marching orders after making a sliding tackle on Liverpool substitute Danny Ings, with Friend already having blown his whistle to award the West Ham captain a free-kick.
Replays suggested Noble made contact with the ball first, while some critics argued the red card was to even up the contest after Liverpool lost Philippe Coutinho in the 52nd minute.
“I’ve watched it probably 10 times back and there’s absolutely no malice in it whatsoever,” Noble told the BBC after the match.
“I’ve won the ball first. I think it’s Danny Ings who has sort of come over the top and in my eyes, it’s not even a yellow [card] – I think a yellow would have been harsh but there you go, Kev’s seen it the way he did and gave me a straight red.”
While Noble described the red card as “a sour note”, he was thrilled with West Ham’s performance.
Manuel Lanzini opened the scoring in the third minute, while Noble extended the visitors’ lead just prior to the half-hour mark before Diafra Sakho completed the win in second-half stoppage time.
It was West Ham’s second impressive away win this season – they stunned Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on the opening day – but two defeats at home sandwiched between those victories has hurt Slaven Bilic’s men.
“I saw a stat in the paper today that a lot of teams are winning away from home – I don’t know why but we sat back today and countered, and obviously to win 3-0 at this place is a little bit special,” Noble said.
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