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Didn’t intend to slight referee, says Rodgers

London: Brendan Rodgers insists his remarks about referee Lee Mason after Liverpool’s loss at Manchester City were not meant as an attack on the official’s integrity.

Liverpool manager Rodgers had questioned the appointment of a Greater Manchester referee in Mason, of Bolton, to the Boxing Day clash against City at the Etihad Stadium.

Rodgers spoke out after the game as he expressed his frustration at a number of decisions made by Mason or his assistants during the 1-2 Premier League defeat.

Rodgers says he was trying to make a valid point and did not intend to slight Mason. He said: “In terms of geography, I certainly wasn’t questioning the integrity of referees. I fully understand the job. It was more than logical (as a comment) in terms of having a referee from that part of the world refereeing a game in Manchester.

“I wouldn’t suspect that Mike Dean, from the Wirral, has refereed many games for Liverpool over the years.”

Rodgers, speaking to press again to preview Sunday’s game at Chelsea, would make his point to the FA if disciplinary action did follow.

He said: “I think it is probably something that naturally happens. I was only speaking honestly after the game. I think the FA and the Referees’ Association know perfectly well I am someone who engages in supporting the referees.

“I am not one that berates referees at all after games, I always respect them. I ask my staff to be respectful. We are never chasing fourth officials or anything on a matchday.

“I think they know when I come out and make a statement like I did yesterday — I was obviously emotional after the game, of course — it is obviously something I speak honestly on.