Wednesday's match between Chelsea and Liverpool was "far from a friendly," to use Jürgen Klopp's phrasing, with the card- and whistle-happy referee showing seven cards (six of them yellow) and blowing for no less than 37 fouls. That's a foul every two-and-a-half minutes, if you're keeping track, split almost evenly between the two teams (Liverpool just edged it, 19-18).
But one foul that was certainly adjudged correctly by referee Baldomero Toledo was Cesc Fàbregas's late challenge on Liverpool new boy Ragnar Klavan.
It wasn't high nor was it two-footed, but it was certainly reckless. Fàbregas made sure Klavan was alright before departing the scene, and as the Liverpool manager later revealed, the Chelsea man even went into the locker room afterwards to apologize again.
"It's a red card and I hope it's not a mentality issue. He (Fabregas) came in the dressing room and said sorry, he came too late in the challenge. Sometimes in life if you are too late then you get a red card. That's how it was. It was just a knock for Klavan. I think he will be okay."
"It was a normal intensity with a few hard challenges. The players are not in 100% shape so sometimes they can be a bit late with their challenges. That's how it is. The ref thought from the beginning he would show yellow cards. I don't think the game was too hard but it was far away from a friendly game. That's okay."
-Jürgen Klopp; source: Get West London
Antonio Conte spent a few moment apologizing as well, bringing up the Fàbregas's lack of match sharpness as a contributing factor. Of course, even in the best of times, Cesc isn't exactly known as a strong tackler, though he's generally not so reckless.
"I'm sorry for this and [Fàbregas] is the same. He has an excuse for this. I'm sorry for him, I'm sorry for the Liverpool player. I think that in this period the fatigue can sometimes bring a bit of a late tackle. I know Fàbregas is a good man and not in the habit of having these situations. I ask for him to be excused."
-Antonio Conte; source: Get West London
Klavan seems to have escaped with nothing more than a bruise, which is good news. Less good, at least in terms of Cesc convincing Conte that he has a future as part of a midfield two, is Fàbregas's suspension for Saturday's match against Real Madrid.