Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey has claimed that Stuart Attwell was right to award Liverpool a penalty against Watford yesterday but was surprised that VAR was needed to be used in order for the foul to be spotted.
The game had continued and it was only when the Reds were awarded a free-kick for a separate offence that Attwell was told to go to the pitchside monitor and review the foul on Diogo Jota.
“Looking at the Liverpool-Watford game, I’ve seen a few comments regarding the penalty Liverpool got towards the end of the game,” Halsey told CaughtOffside.
“In my view, it’s a clear penalty, it’s a clear holding offence by Cucho on Diogo Jota, Cucho’s not even looking at the ball, he’s pulled him down like it’s a rugby tackle!
“I was surprised Stuart Atwell never saw this in real-time, because he was looking in that direction. In those situations some referees spend too much time looking at the ball, but when does the ball commit an offence? You’ve got to keep focused on those danger zones and what’s going on there. VAR were correct in recommending the review.
“The only thing I would say about that decision, however, is we’ve seen similar offences quite often this season that didn’t go to review, so we’re once again seeing too much inconsistency with VAR.”
Fabinho buried the penalty to secure the victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side but Watford can take plenty of positives from their display at Anfield.
Following the game, Watford boss Roy Hodgson claimed he was bemused by the decision to award us a penalty due to the fact nobody appealed for a foul.
Just because nobody appealed doesn’t mean it can’t be and shouldn’t be reviewed, though.
Halsey is right in saying that there is too much inconsistency with the officiating in the Premier League and although it went in our favour this week, due to the standard of refereeing in the league this season, there may very well be an incorrect decision going against us next week.
It’s all swings and roundabouts, though, and you’d like to believe that officiating decisions, both for and against your side, even themselves out over the course of the season.
The referee was right to award a penalty on this occasion and VAR intervened how it’s supposed to.