“What’s the point in playing on?” – Robbo shares frustration at late offside flags

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Andy Robertson continues to be left ‘frustrated’ by the new delayed offside flag rule, as teams can get a false sense of belief or be left out of position due to the calls.

The rule was introduced into the Premier League this season, with the assistant referees instructed to keep their flag down when an immediate goal-scoring opportunity could occur.

Should a goal then be scored or the chance come to nothing, the referee may then raise their flag – allowing VAR to intervene if necessary depending on the final decision made.

And it has not been without its critics, especially regarding the clear and obvious offside calls which are allowed to unfold before being brought back.

It opens the door to potential injuries and the attacking team are also presented with an injection of belief after getting in-behind the defence or even getting a shot away.

It was extremely prevalent in Liverpool’s goalless draw against Man United, who were caught offside on eight occasions, where obvious infringements were allowed to rumble on far too long.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game that it’s “a rule we have to look at as sometimes there can be injuries,” and Robertson added a players’ perspective of the change in momentum, wasted efforts and subsequently finding yourself out of position.

“It’s really frustrating for both teams. In the first half, I think we had three where you know it’s offside,” he told beIN Sports post-match.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2021: Liverpool's Andy Robertson (L) and Manchester United's Paul Pogba during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Sometimes the momentum of the game can change because they get belief that they’ve just had a shot on goal and we think he’s three yards offside so why hasn’t it stopped.

“One of them Trent sprinted back 40 yards to try and slide tackle and he’s miles offside, so Trent’s done an extra sprint and was then out of position – so it is frustrating.

“When it’s clear and obvious by three-four yards – what is the point in playing on?

“But when it’s tight, we have to play to the whistle – we’ve learned that. It is frustrating, especially from a defensive point of view, but it’s about getting used to it.

“They are the rules now, we need to play to the whistle. You get taught that as a really young kid and we just need to get used to it.”

As ever, Robertson hits the nail on the head in relation to issues within the game as the rule should not cater for obvious offside decisions, rather ones which assistant referees may feel a touch of indecision with.

In that case, it is better to be safe than sorry and allow the game to play on and VAR to intervene if needed, but when clear to the naked eye it needs to be automatic.

With Liverpool playing a high-line, they feel the brunt of such calls more often than not and it can create a false narrative as to a potential weakness.

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