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LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 23, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota appeals for a penalty after being brought down by Crystal Palace's goalkeeper Vicente Guaita during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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…

https://twitter.com/Chris78Williams/status/1485278559556059141

 

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.”