Could semi-automated offsides help VAR and Liverpool in 2024/25 Premier League?

Posted by

If you’ve watched a good chunk of Euro 2024 so far, you’ll have noticed a difference in the VAR process for offside calls from what we’ve become accustomed to in the Premier League.

Rather than a clunky, convoluted process of officials in Stockley Park drawing lines on a screengrab, a far more objective computerised image is used for determining whether or not a player is in an offside position.

VAR is in operation in almost all football matches today, and has now been used in the English top flight for five years, but the technology came in for an unprecedented level of criticism last season after a relentless stream of controversies.

Some of those affected Liverpool – think of the shambolic process which resulted in a fair goal for Luis Diaz being disallowed against Tottenham, or how Mo Salah was pushed into an offside position in the Boxing Day win at Burnley, which led to a Harvey Elliott goal being chalked off.

READ MORE: ‘Talks took place’ – European club ‘pushing’ to land Liverpool gem who can ‘imagine’ joining them

READ MORE: “I’m sorry…” – Van Basten didn’t hold back with his verdict on Virgil van Dijk in Dutch defeat

While the latter may still have been subject to interpretation even with semi-automated offsides (SAO) in use, the technology which has been prevalent at Euro 2024 would’ve prevented the chaos surrounding the Colombian’s finish against Spurs.

SAO is being introduced in the Premier League for next season, so will it have a positive impact on how VAR is operated in the English top flight?

Obviously it won’t eradicate the eternal grey area of penalty decisions, but it should cut out a lot of the inexplicable calls to disallow goals because an attacker’s big toe might be a fraction ahead of the last defender.

Follow Empire of the Kop on Instagram (@empireofthekop) HERE

There are two main reasons why SAO has generally been well received by football fans and pundits. It operates far quicker than the circus of officials in Stockley Park drawing lines on a screen, and it’s 100% objective, so nobody can have any complaints over the decision.

Sure, it might still result in some wafer-thin offsides being given and goals duly being disallowed, but at least it’s the one aspect of controversial refereeing which can be easily improved. Alas, the rest is up to the people tasked with keeping order and getting the big calls right.

Of course, many of us thought that the implementation of VAR in the Premier League in 2019 would’ve eradicated a lot of dodgy officiating. If anything, it’s given rise to the opposite happening.

That’s why football fans in this country might remain sceptical about how well SAO will work in the English top flight, but surely its implementation can’t be any worse than the process we’ve endured over the past five seasons? Surely…?

EOTK Close-up with John Welsh: ‘a local lad who lived his dream’ and Slot’s LFC predictions

More Stories Liverpool Premier League VAR