A former official has admitted that Tyrone Mings was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for his challenge on Cody Gakpo during the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
A high boot from Mings caught the midriff of Gakpo at the end of the first half in a challenge which drew clear stud marks on the forward.
Manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game that he was ‘surprised’ the Villa defender did not receive further punishment from referee John Brooks following a VAR check and joked that the scars on Gakpo’s chest mimicked the logo of a “very famous brand.”
Speaking on the Sky Sports News ‘Ref Watch‘ show, ex-referee Dermot Gallagher offered his take on the incident as he indicated Mings should have walked.
Gallagher explained: “I think it’s a red card there. It’s face-to-face, he brings his boot up after he’s played the ball.”
Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock then quizzed Gallagher on whether the marks on Gakpo’s chest provided sufficient evidence for the decision to be assessed by VAR.
“The referee retains all options until he restarts,” continued Gallagher.
“The referee can change his mind. He can take advice from the assistants, the fourth official, he can ask the VAR ‘Have I seen this correctly?'”
Fans may be pleasantly surprised to hear a former referee disagreeing with an on-field decision with the benefit of replays, as the likes of Gallagher are often criticised for displaying too much loyalty towards their colleagues.
The collision was quickly examined by the VAR in Stockley Park before the original decision to give Mings a booking was ultimately verified.
Brooks also disallowed a second-half Gakpo strike during a rare instance in which the referee was sent to the pitchside monitor to assess whether the goal was offside.
Supporters had been rightly left confused about how the goal had not been allowed to stand, with Virgil van Dijk eventually said to be the man who had strayed into an offside position.
That was a decision which Gallagher deemed to be correct: “In law Gakpo’s goal shouldn’t have stood, the officials have got it correct. The way it is written, the referees are in a pickle with it.
“If you look at this incident, the VAR can’t decide. He has to send the referee to the monitor because it has to be the referee’s decision and it has to be subjective.
“It’s a very unfortunate part of the law which leaves the officials hamstrung.”
It was a result that all but ended Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League qualification for next season, highlighting the potential significance of such decisions late on in the campaign.
The Reds travel to Southampton on Sunday for their final game of 2022/23, with the Europa Leauge almost certain to be next season’s destination.