A seething Alan Pardew accused Christian Benteke of “looking for it” after the Belgium international won and converted a stoppage-time penalty for 10-man Liverpool to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace.
Pardew’s team, who remain the only Premier League side without a top-flight win in 2016, appeared on course for victory after James Milner’s 62nd-minute red card followed Joe Ledley’s early second-half opener.
But a dreadful error from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy allowed Roberto Firmino to equalise and Benteke drew a challenge in the penalty area from Damien Delaney in the fourth minute of added time to steal the points.
Referee Andre Marriner consulted with his assistant before awarding the spot-kick and Pardew felt the degree of uncertainty should have steered the officials away from a result-altering decision.
“I feel like we’ve been robbed a little bit, but again maybe we shot ourselves in the foot,” he told Sky Sports.
“[Benteke] is looking for it. Our player is pulling out of it. If the linesman gives it for the touch of the knee in the last minute I think it is harsh. Damien Delaney literally pulls out of it and the follow through of his knee [makes contact]. Blimey, that’s tough.
“He certainly made a big meal of it. If it had been us, we would not have got it. I’m frustrated because I looked at the referee. He was not going to give it and then he looked at the linesman, who gave it.
“You’ve got to be 100 per cent sure. In super slow motion the knee touches the foot and he goes over like he’s been shot. In the last second of the game, are you going to give a penalty then?
“It was a game where we should have come away with something and we didn’t. Our subs were not very good, pointing the finger at myself, and we move on.”
When asked for specifics on his claimed mistakes from the bench, Pardew replied sharply: “Let’s not get into a debate here, where you try to antagonise me. I’m frustrated because I’ve lost and I think the penalty is tough. I think you should accept that.
“I don’t want to get into a debate about this penalty, that’s my opinion, let’s move on.”
Pardew felt a lack of conviction from his team, who are now without a win in 12 league outings, played a part in their downfall before McCarthy’s damaging error
“We didn’t get any pressure on them when they went down to 10,” he added. “Up to that we were good and deserved to be in front.
“The keeper made a mistake, which cost us and made us edgy from that point and we never lost that edginess for the rest of the game.”