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Liverpool boss Benitez refuses invitation to rap ref Jones

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has refused to criticise ref Mike Jones over Sunderland's beachball winner on Saturday.

Darren Bent's shot found the net via a deflection off a beach ball that had been thrown onto the pitch.

Jones was yesterday demoted from Barclays Premier League duties for the forthcoming weekend after his failure to implement the Fifa law which stipulates that games should be stopped in the event of any outside interference. The official will take charge of the Coca-Cola Championship fixture at London Road between Peterborough United and Scunthorpe United.

"The situation is that we cannot change this," Benítez said. "I think that the rule is very clear. Everybody knows and all the experts agree that the goal had to be disallowed but we cannot do anything now so we have to move forward.

"I don't know if he didn't know about the rule, maybe he couldn't see. Anyway I think that it is better to move on. I think the referees and Keith Hackett [the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd] know that a mistake has been made, but I do not want to criticise. He is a young referee and there are not too many referees around the world, so if you have someone who has a passion and wants to be a good referee, then the best thing to do is to just move on.

"I said after the game that we did not play well because I did not want to use the incident as an excuse. It was an important situation because, with the problems that we had, to start the game by going a goal behind was not the best situation for us.

"But still it is something that you have to forget and to think only about what you can influence now, like this Champions League game [against Lyons at Anfield this evening]. A lot of people are saying that the game should be replayed but we will not be asking for this."

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Tribal Football Staff

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