Everton winger Anthony Gordon must "be careful" about developing a reputation for diving after the youngster was denied a penalty in the 2-0 loss to Liverpool.
That is according to former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher, who hailed Gordon but expressed concern for the 21-year-old potentially gaining a deceitful image among Premier League referees.
Gordon was cautioned for an apparent dive in the first half at Anfield following a Naby Keita challenge inside the area, before he saw penalty appeals for a foul by Joel Matip waved away after the interval.
While suggesting his alleged play-acting might be an issue with referees, Carragher believes the latter incident should have seen Gordon - and Everton - awarded a spot-kick.
"He's got to be careful Anthony Gordon," he said on Sky Sports. "He's a great lad, a great player – he was one of the best players on the pitch [on Sunday], caused Liverpool all sorts of problems.
"But he's got to be careful of that. It's not the first one [dive] and it will be in the referees' heads and maybe he hasn't got what he deserved because of a few incidents in three or four other games but that's a stonewall penalty [the Matip foul]."
Fellow pundit Graeme Souness echoed Carragher's comments as he suggested Liverpool players will immediately have been pressuring Stuart Attwell following Gordon's first-half booking.
"In the very first few minutes when he [Gordon] dived to try and get a penalty," Souness added. "You can bet, if we're players out there, we're getting in the referee's ear – 'he's a diver ref' – so you're planting the seed as well."
32 - Everton completed 32 passes in the first half at Anfield, the fewest by a team in the opening period of a Premier League game since November 2006 (30 by Watford against Portsmouth). Shell. pic.twitter.com/wTAuWV7nd8— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2022
However, Everton manager Frank Lampard questioned whether his side would have received different decisions away from Anfield.
"I think they both could have been penalties but you often don't get them at Anfield," Lampard told BBC Sport.
"The fact there's contact and he gets booked is crazy. The second one was a foul [anywhere else] on the pitch. Sometimes you don't get them here."
In his post-match news conference, Lampard added: "If that was [Mohamed] Salah at the other end, he gets a penalty. You don't get them here. That's the reality of football sometimes."
Gordon, meanwhile, was infuriated.
"The second one for me was the strongest, I've gone one-on-one with him and I've got the better of him and he's stood on my foot which has caused me severe pain and I've gone down," Gordon told Sky Sports when asked about his two penalty claims.
"The first one I've watched back, I've felt the contact and went down, but I can see why he hasn't given it but it's certainly not a yellow card or a dive because there's contact."
50 - Liverpool (79) sit 50 points above Everton (29) in the Premier League table, the joint-biggest lead the Reds have had over their Merseyside rivals in the competition at the end of a day (also 50 at the end of 2019-20). Bragging. pic.twitter.com/XAtxFP7qvb— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2022
Defeat left Everton in the relegation zone after 32 matches for the first time since April 1999, following Burnley's win over Wolves, and the Toffees are 50 points behind Liverpool – the joint-biggest lead the Reds have had over their Merseyside rivals.
Lampard also expressed his pride in Everton's performance, with their game plan clear – their 32 passes in the first half was the fewest by a team in the first half of a Premier League game since November 2006 – before Liverpool's quality told in the end.
"They're in a different area to us. They're near the top of the table, they've been together a long time and have a strong style of play," he said.
"We had to be organised and disciplined. I couldn't ask for more at half-time except taking our chances. I'm proud and happy with the performance. We have to take that spirit forward to the final games."