VAR was yet again the main talking point over the weekend, following Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over current Champions Manchester City. The hosts took the lead six minutes in as Fabinho produced a stunning strike 25 yards out.
Yet, this did not come without controversy as only 25 seconds before the goal City were incensed to not be awarded a penalty, as Bernardo Silva’s cross looked to hit the arm of Liverpool full back Trent Alexander-Arnold.
However, the Premier League released a statement during the game, explaining: “The VAR checked the penalty appeal for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold and confirmed the on-field decision that it did not meet the considerations for a deliberate handball.”
Just eight minutes after the opener, Liverpool doubled their lead, as Robertson’s cross found Mohamed Salah at the back post.
Although, controversy arose yet again as videos seemed to suggest that the Egyptian might have been marginally offside.
The VAR check was swiftly concluded and Liverpool were awarded the goal.
Having seen several Premier League and Champions League games this season in which officials take several minutes to decide on the slightest of offside, the Lundstram incident against Tottenham Hotspur for instance, it begs the question as to why both these controversial instances were quickly dealt with.
It did very much like the directive to the VAR at Anfield yesterday was to speed things up in an attempt to counter the complaints of the lengthy delays.
Although, if this was the case, was that not an inappropriate change to make in such a monumental match in the title race?
One man who certainly disagreed with the officials decisions was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who made his view pretty clear.
Following an even less likely handball when a Raheem Sterling cross struck Alexander-Arnold’s hand in the final 10 minutes, the City manager waved two fingers at the fourth official in complete shock as to how his opponents have escaped yet another penalty against them.
The three pundits in the Sky Sports studio watching Liverpool against Manchester City all thought it was a handball by Alexander-Arnold before Liverpool broke and Fabinho thrashed in the opening goal. Jose Mourinho, Graeme Souness and Roy Keane all agreed on that point.
Although, one man to come to VAR’s defence was former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, believing the referee made the correct decision.
He tweeted “Great game at Anfield. Brilliant goals, amazing atmosphere and loads of talking points. How the hell do we still get so many people having a pop at VAR? It did the exact job it was designed to do and had absolutely no impact on the game.”
But what do the people of Liverpool think of both the handball incident and VAR in general? Myself and fellow MerseySportLive reporter James Lee went to get the public’s opinion.
While many people believe VAR should just be completely scrapped, the general consensus was that it video technology is crucial to the current game, yet consistency in how it’s used is the main issue and if it were to ever succeed it shouldn’t change depending on the match.
Picture by C records- Wikimedia commons