Former referee Keith Hackett has questioned the decision not to award Federico Fernandez a red card for elbowing Diogo Jota in the face during Liverpool’s 1-1 stalemate with Newcastle United at the weekend.
The incident was revied by VAR, however, those at Stockley Park did not advise referee Andre Marriner to hand the Argentine his marching orders for the offence.
“He’s not using his hand and arm for elevation. It’s straight in the face of an opponent, it’s a red card,” the 76-year-old told Football Insider. “I don’t know how they can put that into reckless and give a yellow card.”
It’s difficult, and perhaps somewhat pointless, to speculate on how the result might have altered had Steve Bruce’s men (rightly) gone down to 10 men, given our rather lacklustre showing in the second-half.
Regardless, it’s frustrating that once again VAR failed to award an appropriate punishment for what appeared to be an intentional and excessive use of force to all but the officials.
With Fabian Balbuena having been sent off for an accidental kick on Ben Chilwell after clearing the ball – in an incident that was slowed down to the point of adding intention – it’s remarkable how those wielding the technology remain remarkably inept even with its help.