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Liverpool fans torn on “very surprising” penalty call to seal 3-1 win

Liverpool were handed a late penalty to seal their 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, but fans were left divided over whether it should have been given.

The Reds were 2-1 up but clinging on as they edged towards full-time at Selhurst Park, when a stunning pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold sent Diogo Jota through.

Jota dithered with the ball slightly, and under pressure from Joel Ward, knocked it past Vicente Guaita and out for what many expected to be a goal kick.

But with Guaita sliding out and connecting with Liverpool’s No. 20, referee Kevin Friend presided over a lengthy break as VAR checked whether it could have, in fact, been a penalty.

Friend was told to head to the pitchside monitor, and eventually the Reds were awarded the spot-kick – which Fabinho converted to ensure the three points.

It was a controversial decision from the officials, with Palace supporters ending the game with chants of “sh*t referee,” and as Liverpool fans took to social media, it became clear there was no consensus over whether it should have been a spot-kick.

 

For many, it should not have been a penalty…

 

But others noted the contact with Guaita that warranted a penalty…

 

So what did Klopp say?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 23, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Klopp – unsurprisingly – sided with the officials.

“I didn’t see it back, but I don’t think I have to,” he said.

“Because VAR thought it was a penalty, the ref saw it as a penalty.

“The Crystal Palace people thought it was no penalty, I understand, but I think that’s the proof you need.”

 

And how about Patrick Vieira?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Crystal Palace's manager Patrick Vieira during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Palace manager had a right to feel aggrieved, regardless of whether or not it was a deserved penalty, due to the manner in which it was given – particularly due to the length of the VAR check.

“I don’t even want to talk about it, because I don’t want to be disrespectful to the referees,” he told reporters in his post-match press conference.

“I can’t understand how he managed to give that penalty. I looked at it in every single angle, and I still don’t understand how that can be a penalty.

“That decision took our hope to get back into the game and to get the points away.

“That was a really poor decision by the referee.”

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