Dermot Gallagher explains why VAR didn’t intervene for potential penalty against Liverpool

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Dermot Gallagher has explained why VAR didn’t intervene for a potential penalty against Liverpool in Wednesday night’s victory over West Ham.

With the Reds leading 2-1 in the closing minutes at London Stadium, Danny Ings’ shot struck the hand of Thiago Alcantara, with VAR looking at the incident and concurring with Chris Kavanagh’s on-field verdict not to blow for a spot kick.

Irons manager David Moyes was livid over the decision, accusing the officials of ‘disrespect’ towards his team (Sky Sports), and one former Premier League referee has now had his say on the contentious incident.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Gallagher outlined: “I spoke to three ex-pros last night: one said penalty, two said no penalty. That’s how tough a decision it is.

“Everybody is split between penalty and not a penalty. I think the referee relays back that he thinks Thiago is falling, he’s breaking his fall and it strikes his arm. I understand that.

“The VAR looks at it and he has to judge whether it is a clear and obvious error. If you speak to 100 people, 50 would say yes and 50 would say no.

“The VAR can’t say: go and have a look. It has to have reason. There is so much traction of penalty and no penalty, it is one that can go either way. In that case, the VAR is indebted to the referee and has to go back to him and say: it’s your decision.

“If the VAR had the power to say: ‘I’m not sure – go and see what you think.’ The referee could look at it and say ‘no penalty’. That would sit better with people.”

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Gallagher’s revelation about the three former professionals having contrasting opinions over the penalty incident sums up how divisive it was.

The original intention of VAR when it was introduced to football was to help on-field officials correct clear and obvious errors, rather than jumping in at every opportunity in an attempt to effectively re-referee the game.

After four years of the technology being used in the Premier League, the latter scenario crops up all too often, but if we consider its proper purpose, that may explain why Kavanagh wasn’t asked to review the potential penalty against Thiago.

Many Liverpool fans would likely insist that the officials got it right, but considering how debatable a call it was, in all likelihood we’d have been screaming for a spot kick if it happened at the other end of the pitch.

Maybe the officials on VAR at London Stadium didn’t feel a need to intervene over that moment, hence why the Reds escaped the dreaded look at the monitor, but even we’d have to admit we might have got away with one when another official could well have blown for a penalty.

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1 Comment

  1. But it did happen at the other end of the pitch, just before Matips winner, Cresswell was identified as going to ground to make a block which VAR also checked for handball and the game continued. No debate over that mind. The medias problem doesn’t appear to be VAR it appears to be decisions they’ve decided favour us.

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