5 VAR calls from Liverpool 1-1 Man City – were they right or wrong?

Be it with Liverpool and Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klopp’s matches with Pep Guardiola always deliver the goods.

This Sunday’s encounter – their last in the Premier League – was no different. City went a goal up at Anfield before having to weather a storm and hold out for a point after Liverpool equalised from the penalty spot.

Though the contest was an enthralling one, it wasn’t without a fair share of controversy and calls for VAR to get involved.

Here’s a run-through of all the contentious decisions from Sunday’s match and whether they were correct.

John StonesJohn Stones

Stones opened the scoring / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

City broke the deadlock thanks to a well-worked corner routine, with John Stones turning in Kevin De Bruyne’s delivery at the near post.

The space for Stones to pop into was created by Nathan Ake blocking off Alexis Mac Allister, which made Liverpool fans remember their disallowed goal from the Carabao Cup final where Virgil van Dijk’s initial opener was ruled out. However, this was disallowed as Wataru Endo was offside when setting a similar screen, whereas it is impossible to be offside from a corner.


Down went Nunez / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

No need to look too much into this one. Ederson clattered into Darwin Nunez so hard the goalkeeper himself had to be withdrawn with injury soon after.

Mohamed Salah, Kyle WalkerMohamed Salah, Kyle Walker

Salah was not happy with Walker / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Anfield was irate when Kyle Walker’s thunderous lunge clipped Mohamed Salah’s ankle.

The lunge was a little high, but so was Salah’s boot at the point of contact and so no further action was taken.

Mohamed SalahMohamed Salah

Salah felt aggrieved again / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

VAR did look at Salah turning away from Ake, but only very briefly. The challenge was by no means strong enough to warrant Liverpool winning a penalty.


‘Just stop it…there’ / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

Right, the one you’ve all been waiting for.

Liverpool were understandably furious when this high boot from Jeremy Doku on Mac Allister went unpunished. On-field referee Michael Oliver decided against calling a penalty, though those in the VAR room took a lengthy look back at it.

While Doku’s boot was high, he does win the ball first. His foot also brushes Mac Allister and is not planted directly into his body, while the Belgian’s eyes were fixated on the ball at all times. This was, ultimately, why Oliver was not sent to the monitor.

In the grander scheme of the season, it may have also been harsh to award a penalty – an almost certain chance of scoring – against City for what was by definition a tackle.

It is in the grey area of football law, still. If Oliver had pointed to the spot himself, he might have been sent for a review but could well have stuck by his initial decision. It’s just not a clear-cut call either way and not one for the internet to rip apart.


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