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Mohamed Salah gives striker’s take on VAR: “It kills the game”

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Mohamed Salah has criticised the use of VAR in the Premier League, saying “it kills the game,” having returned to goalscoring form three days after a strike was ruled out.

Many would have been forgiven for believing Salah had got his name on the scoresheet in Thursday night’s 3-1 win at Tottenham, but the No. 11’s goal was denied due to handball in the buildup.

The handball in question came against Roberto Firmino, with the ball striking the Brazilian’s arm after bouncing off Eric Dier’s – and despite Dier clearly fouling Firmino, the goal was chalked off and Spurs given a free-kick.

It was a strange call from referee Martin Atkinson, seemingly not one in the rulebook either, and the situation was clearly playing on Salah’s mind.

After scoring twice in a 3-1 victory at West Ham on Sunday, Salah gave a striker’s take on the implementation of VAR in the Premier League in particular, saying it “kills the game.”

“I’ve said it before, I don’t like VAR,” he told Sky Sports.

“From the beginning of the season, or even before, it’s just my opinion that it just kills the game, the joy of football.

“Here [in the Premier League] also, it has to be in exactly the same line [for offside calls], but I think in the Champions League or some other country they give the striker more space, so if they score it’s fine for them.

“I don’t want to complain about it, because I don’t want to get fined, but just my opinion about VAR, I don’t like it.”

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) scores their side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday January 31, 2021. Justin Setterfield/PA Wire/PA Images

Salah is far from the only player to have expressed his grievance with VAR since it was introduced to the English top flight, as it has only highlighted the ineptitude of the league’s officials.

For Liverpool, at least the decision at Spurs did not impact the result, and now their revived title fight has continued with three more points at West Ham.

Asked if this season’s title-winners will be required to find consistency of wins, Salah said “every year is like that,” but the 28-year-old admitted it has been a “really big week” for the Reds.

“Every year is like that. If you want to win the league, you have to win every game,” he said.

“But this year, City were struggling in the beginning, then we were struggling. You just need to keep winning if you want to win the Premier League.

“Yes, it’s a really big week.”

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