Following Sunday’s highly controversial 2-2 draw with Tottenham, where Spurs were awarded two possibly incorrect penalty decisions which ended up costing Liverpool the three points, Dejan Lovren has called for the introduction of video assistant referee (VAR) into the Premier League and had the following to say:
“In this situation we need the VAR system. But we could not find it because nobody understood what was happening.”
“When I saw what the referees were saying between each other ‘did he touch or not’, I don’t know what he said, but then suddenly he gives a penalty.”
“It cannot be like that, you need to be 100 per cent when you give a penalty in the 85th minute and in the 95th minute.”
Both referee Jon Moss and his assistant Eddie Smart were heavily scrutinized for their decision in gifting Spurs two late penalties, with the Kop clearly echoing their frustration during the incidents and at the final whistle.
The first was given after Harry Kane was brought down in the box by Karius and not merely did Kane seem to dive to win the penalty, but he was also in a clear offside position. The second was given in what was essentially the final kick off the game as although initially waving off Erik Lamela’s appeals for a penalty after slight contact from Virgil Van Dijk, after some persuading from the linesman, Moss awarded Spurs the penalty and ultimately cost the Reds what would have been a vital three points in the quest for Champions League qualification.
There was a glaring inconsistency amongst the decisions as well. Moss decided to give Spurs the first penalty and ignored legitimate claims from Smart that it wasn’t a spot kick, while a role reversal happened during the second incident as he gave into pressure from Smart to award the penalty after previously waving off Lamela’s appeals instantly. A conversation between the two prior to the awarding of the missed first penalty also garnered a lot of attention, with Moss claiming he was unaware as to whether Lovren got a touch on the ball which was a key factor when deciding to award the penalty as despite being unsure, Moss gave into the claims anyway.
VAR has been hotly debated and Liverpool experienced the pro’s and cons during the disappointing 3-2 loss to West Brom in the FA Cup back in January, with the technology helping to disallow West Brom 2 goals and awarding Liverpool a penalty which otherwise wouldn’t have been given. However, there is no disputing that if VAR was in place in the Premier League, the outcome at Anfield on Sunday could have been very different indeed…