Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane are “cheating” when making theatrical plays for penalty decisions, says Danny Murphy, with the Liverpool and Tottenham forwards forcing the hand of match officials.
Simulation has become a buzzword again in the Premier League on the back of another eventful round of English top-flight competition.
During Liverpool’s narrow 2-1 win over West Ham at Anfield, Salah threw himself to the ground under pressure from Hammers defender Arthur Masuaku.
There was contact, with Jurgen Klopp among those to have spoken out in support of his Egyptian frontman, but whether there was enough to hit the turf has become a subject of much debate.
Murphy is among those who feel that too many players in the modern era have become masters of the dark arts, with tumbles taken at any given opportunity.
Plenty have pointed out that players have to go down in order to highlight the fact that they have been clipped, with few big calls made when the decision is made to remain upright.
Questions will, however, continue to be asked of whether the faintest of touches is enough to justify a penalty award, with superstar performers blurring the lines when it comes to sporting etiquette.
Former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Murphy told talkSPORT of those who push the boundaries: “Callum Wilson, Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, they all did it, and it’s something so many forwards do now which is using the inefficient refereeing and the rules to get penalties.
“I don’t want to see it. They’re all doing it, they’re all cheating, they’re all manipulating the referee – you can use what word you want.
“And it’s not going to stop, because you don’t get penalties if you don’t go down! Actually, the only way you’re going to stop it is if defenders stop doing stupid tackles. You can’t go in for a tackle in the box, you’ve just got to stand your ground.
“But why can’t referees have the intelligence and common sense to see through it? They can see they’ve over-exaggerated, they’ve overdone it, they’ve dived and after the event, delayed, they’ve thrown themselves to the ground – don’t give the penalties!”
It is not the first time that Salah has found himself at the centre of such a storm, while Spurs striker Kane is also back under the spotlight after going down under pressure from Adam Lallana in his side’s 2-1 victory over Brighton.