Safari refutes diving accusations

Basel's Behrang Safari has denied claims he took a dive in the incident that saw Liverpool's Lazar Markovic sent off on Tuesday.

The Swiss side were leading 1-0 at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League Group B encounter, when half-time substitute Markovic attempted to fend off the attentions of the chasing Safari.

Markovic put out his right arm, and made light contact with Safari's face, causing the Basel man to fall to the floor.

Referee Bjorn Kuipers brandished a straight red card in Markovic's direction and with 10 men for the remaining half an hour, Steven Gerrard's equaliser was not enough to see Liverpool through as Basel advanced at their expense.

Safari came in for criticism for what some - including Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers - perceived to be an exaggerated fall, but the Sweden international has defended his part in the incident.

"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."