More VAR frustration for Hendo & cautions over losing football’s “emotion”

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Jordan Henderson has joined the growing band of football folk speaking of his disenchantment with the focus being on VAR after another Liverpool win.

The Reds beat Tottenham 1-0 at the north London side’s new stadium on Saturday, meaning it’s one win in five for Jose Mourinho’s outfit in the Premier League—and 12 wins in a row for the table-toppers.

After the match, captain Henderson spoke with Sky Sports pundit—and ex-Reds midfielder—Jamie Redknapp, who asked about a range of themes from the match including the Tottenham threat, the brilliance of Roberto Firmino and VAR.

Henderson himself was involved in a check when the Liverpool goal went in, after he challenged Dele Alli for a bouncing ball.

Our No. 14 clearly won the battle with a brave header, leading to Mo Salah teeing up Firmino for the winner, but there was a VAR check to see whether it had struck an arm during that initial challenge.

Under the new rules, the goal would have been ruled out had it touched Henderson’s arm, but the midfielder expressed both bemusement and irritation at the process, suggesting he didn’t even know what was going on at the time.

“Was it [the check] for me? I thought it just hit me head!

“I saw on the screen it was handball but I thought I just headed it to Mo so I didn’t know where the handball [would have been].

“It’s just that I don’t know [down on the pitch] what they’re looking at? I was thinking I headed it, so where was the handball? But obviously they had to check something but everybody could see it was a perfectly fine goal.”

Asked what it’s like as a player to be waiting for a verdict from VAR and whether it’s frustrating not being able to celebrate fully, Hendo admitted that some of the emotion is taken out—and that’s terrible for the game.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 11, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“A little bit yeah. I’m sick of hearing about it and talking about it to be honest. The Sheffield United, West Ham one. I think we’re talking about it a little bit too much, it isn’t great to be able to wait. I’m sure there were goals today disallowed for different reasons.

“As a player it’s difficult. When you’re waiting 20 or 30 seconds for every single goal it is tough.

“I know we try to get everything right but it does take away that passion and emotion from the game so we need to be careful we don’t take that away, because that’s what football is all about.”

He’s far from the only Premier League player to have concerns over the implementation of VAR; Declan Rice recently had plenty to say about it, while in his recent book Ask A Footballer, Reds vice-captain James Milner spoke of his disdain for the process and suggested many players feel the same.

Henderson went on to discuss his shifting role in Fabinho‘s absence, the form and the title potential of Liverpool and the challenges remaining ahead.

Next up Liverpool face Man United and Henderson will hope to continue his own excellent recent form, as he looks to lead the Reds to a first league title since Alan Hansen was captain under Kenny Dalglish in 1990.

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