The referee had to make himself a hero - Schmeichel rues penalty call as Liverpool thrashes Leicester

Leicester City was well beaten 4-0 by Liverpool, but Kasper Schmeichel felt the decision to award the Reds a penalty was crucial.

Caglar Soyuncu was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty box.   -  Getty Images

Kasper Schmeichel accused referee Michael Oliver of wanting "to make himself a hero" in Leicester City's 4-0 loss to Liverpool.

The second-placed Foxes were comprehensively beaten by the Premier League leader at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day to fall 13 points behind Jurgen Klopp's Reds.

READ | Liverpool thumps Leicester City to open up 13-point Premier League lead

Liverpool went in front through Roberto Firmino's first-half header and scored three times in seven second-half minutes, with the first of those goals coming from a James Milner penalty.

Schmeichel was incensed by the decision to award the spot-kick, which came after Caglar Soyuncu leant into the ball and it struck his arm following a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner.

Asked whether the final score was a fair reflection, Schmeichel told Amazon Prime: "I think it was a bit tough. We were in the game until the referee had to make himself a hero.

"From then on we lost our composure. They're the best side in the world at the moment, along with Manchester City, and I think it's important for us not to lose sight of the big picture.

"We are very early into our journey. Man City, Liverpool, these are the type of teams we strive to be like but they're a lot further down the line in their development than we are.

"I think if someone had offered us the place that we're in at the start of the season we'd be very happy with that. It's important to have a little bit of perspective as well."

Milner's penalty was followed by further goals from Firmino and Alexander-Arnold, and Schmeichel was in disbelief over the awarding of the spot-kick.

He added: "What's his name… Dermot [Gallagher, former referee], he'll be on Sky saying it's a great decision, the referee was brave or something like that but I don't know what he's supposed to do.

"His arm's down by his side. It's flicked off someone at the front post, he's got less than a millisecond to react. I don’t know how…

"Once he gives it – he's desperate to give it, it looks like – once he gives it VAR's never going to turn it over."

Leicester, the 2015-16 Premier League champion, made a bright start to the season but a realistic title challenge appears unlikely following back-to-back losses against Manchester City and Liverpool.

It is the Reds, rather than the defending champion, which is in complete control of the title race after a 17th win in 18 Premier League games so far.

"They're a top side," Schmeichel added. "It's theirs to lose, isn't it?"

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