Neil Mellor was initially baffled by Craig Pawson’s failure to spot Michael Keane’s handball for the penalty incident in Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Everton on Saturday.
With just over 15 minutes remaining in normal time at Anfield, the 10-man visitors were keeping the Reds at bay, until the Toffees defender’s indiscretion was punished once the referee went to the VAR monitor and duly altered his on-field decision.
The use of the technology has dogged numerous Premier League games since its introduction in 2019, but the former LFC striker believes it was used perfectly in ensuring that Jurgen Klopp’s side got the spot kick they deserved.
Taking to Twitter/X, Mellor posted: “I wondered why the ref hadn’t spotted such a blatant handball. But his view wasn’t great and this was a good example of VAR working well to assist him. Not sure it needed to take over 2 mins tho [sic]. But he got the help and it was the correct decision.”
I wondered why the ref hadn’t spotted such a blatant handball. But his view wasn’t great and this was a good example of VAR working well to assist him.
Not sure it needed to take over 2 mins tho But he got the help and it was the correct decision 👏 #var #ReviewShow #LIVEVE pic.twitter.com/5UKjKYsZnT
— Neil Mellor (@NeilMellor33) October 23, 2023
Watching in real-time on Saturday, it looked a clear penalty, and while Pawson perhaps ought to have spotted it immediately, he at least had the good sense to point to the spot after consulting the pitchside VAR monitor.
Also, as Mellor rightly pointed out, the referee mightn’t have had the best view of Keane’s handball given that the Everton defender may have been obscured by other players from the official’s vantage point.
At least the right decision was ultimately made, and this is indeed a textbook example of how VAR can be good for the game when it’s used correctly, even if the offence seemed obvious enough to have taken a shorter time for the officials to adjudicate upon.
The Toffees might’ve had legitimate grievances over Ibrahima Konate avoiding a second yellow card for his foul on Beto earlier in the match, but this particular penalty call was straightforward. Thankfully, Pawson did what he needed to after consulting with his peers in Stockley Park.