Published On: Mon, May 22nd, 2023
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Liverpool demand answers from Howard Webb as Reds write to PGMOL over two VAR decisions | Football | Sport

Liverpool have written to the PGMOL over two decisions made during their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday. The Reds are seeking answers from the body’s chief refereeing officer Howard Webb over the decisions to rule out Cody Gakpo’s strike for offside and give Tyrone Mings just a yellow card for a high challenge on the same player despite both incidents being looked at by VAR. 

Liverpool realistically needed to win on Saturday to maintain their faint hopes of finishing in the top four however the Reds were unable to overcome Villa at Anfield, drawing 1-1. However, the match was not without controversy after two debatable decisions over the 90 minutes.

The club have now written to PGMOL to ask for an explanation of the decisions. The first relates to a 55th-minute call after Gakpo had put the ball into the back of the net with the score at 1-0 to the visitors. 

John Brooks and his assistant had allowed the strike to stand but after several minutes of examination from VAR Nick Greenhalgh, Brooks was asked to review the decision on the pitch-side monitor, and he overturned his original call and disallowed the goal.

The explanation afterwards was that Villa defender Ezri Konsa didn’t deliberately play the ball to Vigil van Dijk, who was standing in an offside position. But there has since been widespread debate over whether or not Konsa did act deliberately when touching the ball.

TV replays suggest the centre-half flicked his foot towards the ball in an obvious attempt to play it. The contact diverted it away from Gakpo originally and towards Van Dijk who then squared for his international team-mate to fire home after a goalmouth scramble.

The other decision in question was a high challenge from Mings as he caught Gakpo at the top of his rib cage with his studs, causing extensive lacerations to the forward which were later seen when the Dutchman celebrated his goal before it was ruled out. He lifted his shirt which then showed the marks across his midriff.

Liverpool are hoping for an explanation on why VAR Greenhalgh did not ask Brooks to go to the monitor over the challenge when he did over the disallowed goal despite evidence that they feel supports the referee’s original decision to allow the goal.

Jurgen Klopp gave his initial assessment of both incidents after the game. The German admitted that he had been left confused by the offside decision but was yet to see Mings’ challenge back to have a proper look. 

“I asked the ref why the offside goal was an offside goal because offside situations I think should be clear,” Klopp explained. “The ref explained to me it was a subjective decision. He thinks it is a non-deliberate action from the defender. I think it is.” 

He later added on Mings’ foul: “I didn’t see it back so I don’t know if it was a red card. I was probably too far away and only saw Cody after [the stud marks on his chest]. But you cannot do that without being a proper foul.” 

Liverpool eventually gained a point from the game with Roberto Firmino netting late on his Anfield farewell but the Reds are now likely to be forced to make do with a place in the Europa League next season. Newcastle and Manchester United need just one point each from two remaining games to secure a top-four finish.

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