Bolton manager Sam Allardyce claimed that Liverpool's skipper Steven Gerrard should have been sent off for "stamping" on Kevin Nolan during the northwest rivals' 2-2 Premiership draw on Monday.
Allardyce was furious that referee Mark Clattenburg didn't dismiss Gerrard after an incident that left midfielder Nolan with stud marks down his chest.
England international Gerrard, who claimed that he was unable to sidestep Nolan after the player was sent tumbling to the ground, was defended by his manager Rafael Benitez, who also attacked the tactics employed by Bolton at their Reebok Stadium home.
Bolton's El Hadji Diouf, the former Liverpool player, was the main target for Benitez.
"It's very difficult in this kind of game when you see players diving all the time," said the European champions' Spanish boss. "There were a lot of free-kicks against us and I saw things I don't like."
Allardyce admitted he was trying to curb Diouf's tendency to go down too easily.
"He has to address that side of his game," he said.
But the Bolton manager preferred to concentrate on Clattenburg's refusal to award Bolton two penalties during the first half and two other incidents during an untidy game.
"Gerrard stamped on Nolan and (Mohamed) Sissoko stamped on Diouf. They were plain, clear and obvious," Allardyce alleged.
"People talk about our physical stuff, but these are major decisions that have gone against us. It's really very disappointing."
The war of words came after a fluctuating match. A penalty from Gerrard wiped out Radhi Jaidi's early goal for Bolton, who regained the lead through Diouf before Luis Garcia earned Liverpool a point.
Benitez, whose team had won their previous 10 league games, said: "When you go behind against Bolton, it is very difficult. They look to stop the game and made it very difficult to play the kind of football we want to play.
"I like to play as well as possible and sometimes you need to approach games knowing they will be physical - and that's what we've done in the second-half," added the Liverpool manager, whose side remained third, 17 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Elsewhere, at the foot-of-the-table, Birmingham beat Wigan 2-0 but basement club Sunderland, which took the lead, lost 2-1 away to Fulham in a match where both sides finished with 10 men.
"It's looking tougher and tougher all the time," Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy admitted.
Everton pulled clear from danger with a 3-1 win over Charlton at Goodison Park, Australia international Tim Cahill scoring two headed goals while Newcastle and Middlesbrough shared the points in a 2-2 derby draw.
"It's good to have a bit of confidence back and we're really pleased to get a result today," said Cahill.
Aston Villa beat Midlands rival West Brom 2-1, a defeat that left the Baggies two points above the relegation zone.
Steven Davis put Villa ahead before Steve Watson equalised in the 76th minute. But minutes later Watson conceded the penalty from which Milan Baros scored Villa's winner.
Blackburn Rovers went into eighth place after a 2-1 win at home to struggling Portsmouth. Pompey, boosted by the possibility of a fresh injection of finance from new 'co-owner' Alexandre Gaydamak, remained in the bottom three.