Explained: Why referee John Brooks and VAR ruled out Cody Gakpo goal

There was almighty confusion both inside Anfield and for those watching at home as ref John Brooks disallowed Cody Gakpo‘s goal vs. Aston Villa.

As it turns out, the explanation is no more convincing.

Gakpo thought he had levelled the scores at 1-1 with his close-range finish early in the second half on Saturday, cancelling out Jacob Ramsey’s opener.

But after a long VAR check, the referee was sent to the pitchside monitor to reassess his decision, ultimately ruling the goal out.

The decision was officially described as offside, but there was confusion over exactly why the goal did not stand.

Now, the Premier League have at least explained the thought behind the decision, with Virgil van Dijk the player deemed offside.

“Van Dijk was in an offside position from Luis Diaz‘s header,” a statement reads.

“The VAR recommended a review, and referee John Brooks determined it was a deflection off Ezri Konsa, not a deliberate play.”

Diaz had headed Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s lofted ball down into the penalty area, but Konsa clearly made a deliberate attempted clearance which then fell to Van Dijk.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 5, 2023: Referee John Brooks during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Brentford FC at Old Trafford. Man Utd won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For Konsa to not have deliberately played the ball, and instead let the ball simply deflect off him, it would have been a defensive effort of calamitous proportions.

But that was why the goal was ruled out, with Jurgen Klopp no doubt furious in the stands as he served his suspension for comments on another official, Paul Tierney.

Incidentally, Brooks was the fourth official that Klopp was booked for celebrating in the face of when Liverpool beat Tottenham 4-3 at Anfield last month.

The aftermath of that incident saw the manager received a two-match ban – one of which was suspended – and a £75,000 fine.