‘I was bleeding’ – Safari denies getting Markovic sent off

The Sweden international collapsed to the floor writhing and clutching his face following contact with the winger’s fingertips, much to the fury of the Serb’s team-mates

Basel’s Behrang Safari has dismissed the suggestion that he got Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic sent off during Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Anfield.

The Swiss side were leading 1-0 in the Group B encounter when half-time substitute Markovic threw out his right arm towards the eyes of Safari, who collapsed to the floor writhing and clutching his face.

Referee Bjorn Kuipers showed a straight red card to Markovic and, with 10 men for the remaining half-hour, Steven Gerrard’s equaliser was not enough to see Liverpool progress at Basel’s expense.

Safari came in for criticism for what some – including Reds manager Brendan Rodgers – perceived to be an exaggerated reaction to the contact, but the Sweden international has defended his actions.

“I was bleeding from my mouth,” Safari told Sportbladet. “I wouldn’t have gone to ground if he hadn’t hit me. I am not the kind of player who dives.

“It was a bit strange, I didn’t realise that it was a red card at first. I thought the referee had blown his whistle because it was a head injury and I thought I was going to give the ball to the Liverpool players afterwards.

“But then I noticed that the Liverpool players were angry with me.”

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