PGMOL set to reject Liverpool’s complaints and back officials | Liverpool
Liverpool’s frustration over key refereeing decisions during Saturday’s Premier League draw with Aston Villa is set to be rebuffed by PGMOL, with the referees’ body backing the interpretations of its officials.
The club this weekend wrote to PGMOL asking for clarity on why Cody Gakpo had a goal ruled out for offside and Tyrone Mings received only a yellow card for a high challenge on the forward. But PGMOL sees both decisions seen as plausible interpretations of subjective rules.
Gakpo thought he had scored a second-half equaliser at Anfield when he turned the ball home after a penalty box melée. The goal was overturned after a VAR check, with Virgil van Dijk deemed to be offside when he played the ball in the buildup. Van Dijk had received the ball when an attempted clearance from Ezri Konsa came into his path. Had this been determined to be “deliberate play” by Konsa, the goal would have stood. But deliberate play requires the player to have the ball under control, something ruled not to be the case.
After the match Jürgen Klopp said he had discussed the decision with the referee, John Brooks. “He thinks it is a not deliberate action from the defender but I think it is,” he said. The Liverpool manager was also disturbed by Mings’s first-half challenge on Gakpo, saying “Cody looks like he’s been sponsored by a brand with three massive cuts [across his chest]. You can’t do that without making a proper foul.”
Brooks awarded Mings a yellow card and the VAR, Tony Harrington, did not act to overturn the call. High challenges can be the subject of more lenient refereeing, especially if the offending player is believed to have been unaware of the position of the player they make contact with. The force of the challenge is also taken into account.
The Mings foul echoes an occasion earlier in the season when Liverpool’s Diogo Jota connected with the head of Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp while trying to make a challenge. VAR chose not to intervene on that occasion either.
PGMOL has acknowledged errors in VAR decisions this season but these instances will not be treated in the same manner. They will be reviewed by a Key Match Incidents panel this week however. An independent group, it assesses key incidents on every matchday, with the verdict of the panel feeding back into referees’ performance assessment.