The fallout from Liverpool’s defeat to Tottenham at the weekend continues, with two pundits on Sky Sports News voicing their displeasure over the VAR intervention which saw Curtis Jones sent off.
The midfielder was initially shown a red card for his challenge on Yves Bissouma, but after Simon Hooper was advised to look at the incident on the pitchside monitor, he swiftly upgraded it to red.
Reflecting on that contentious moment, Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith both argued that the referee being met with a freeze-frame image of the point of contact heavily influenced him before he watched back any video footage of the foul.
The former England women’s international said: “When he goes over to the screen, it’s the still. It’s worse than in real-time, so shouldn’t they have shown it in real-time? That still [screengrab] looks awful.
“I saw the still and thought it was a red card, but then when you actually watch the incident, he goes over the top of the ball, and you can see he doesn’t mean to hurt him. For me, the still makes his mind up.”
Warnock then stated: “It’s the wrong still to start with, and this again is where VAR is wrong. You cannot put something into someone’s mind straight away. You’ve got to give them the full run of it in normal time; then you slow it down if you want to.
“I didn’t think it was a red. However, that’ll be a 50-50 split. You can lean either way on that.”
Both pundits highlight a pertinent issue in objecting to how Hooper was shown the still image of the point of contact when going over to the monitor rather than being given the video footage in real-time and then slowed down.
He may still have shown a red card to Jones in that instance, but once he saw the freeze-frame as his first look at the incident, it could be argued that it instantly coloured his perception of the foul.
Even if technology is objective, the use of it can be decidedly subjective – as seemed to be the case with that particular moment on Saturday.
You can view Smith and Warnock’s comments below, via @SkySportsPL on Twitter/X:
"It's the wrong still to start with. This again is where VAR is wrong"
The Ref Watch panel discuss Curtis Jones' red card against Tottenham 🟥 pic.twitter.com/qNWfFyYsDp
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 2, 2023