LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 4, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference at Anfield ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How Jurgen Klopp’s replay request surprised even Liverpool FC

In the early stages of the fallout from Saturday’s VAR fiasco at Tottenham, sources close to Liverpool played down the possibility of a replay being sought.

Instead, it was said their focus was on a push to improve processes surrounding the awarding of goals, and to correct the protocol that meant play could not be pulled back once it was realised Luis Diaz‘s strike had been incorrectly chalked off.

The validity of that position was underlined by the release of the match officials’ audio, which painted a perfect picture of the chaos that had led to such a catastrophic error.

But, given the PGMOL had followed that up with a commitment to improve communication protocols, it was thought that the matter could be coming to a close.

However, speaking to the press for the first time since the weekend’s game, Jurgen Klopp chose to shock everyone in taking a sledgehammer to Liverpool’s initial position that they were ready to accept such small concessions.

According to those close to the manager, the strength of his response was not entirely unexpected, but there was no grand plan for the manager to lead a major change of tack from the club as a whole.

“Some people won’t want me to say,” admitted Klopp, before dropping the bombshell: “not as a manager of Liverpool, more as a football person, the only outcome should be a replay.”

Clearly, Klopp’s frustration is rooted in the fact that this is a genuinely unprecedented situation in the history of English football.

This is not some incorrect or subjective call later acknowledged by the officials, of which there have been many in both the pre and post-VAR era.

Instead, it was a goal that everyone – and most crucially the officials – agreed had been scored simply not counting to the scoreline. “That goal was scored, legal, fact,” said Klopp.

It is akin to a scoreboard failure somehow affecting the end result, and so you can see why Klopp might be so keen for replay.

Of course, the key line from the German’s press conference was that he does not expect that to happen, which will be a relief to the Premier League given their likely resistance to such a push.

“Some people won’t want me to say, not as a manager of Liverpool, more as a football person, the only outcome should be a replay. That’s how it is,” said Klopp, before adding that it “probably will not happen.”

And they are perhaps aided by the fact that there is no process for Liverpool to follow were they to choose to lodge a firm protest with the powers that be.

Unlike in the case of Curtis Jones‘ dismissal at Tottenham, the Reds cannot appeal to the FA or Premier League for an overturn of an entire game.

As such, it will be fascinating to see what comes next, particularly given Klopp’s refusal to clarify Liverpool’s planned next steps.

The only consensus among journalists present at Anfield was excitement over the fact that a story that has kept on giving since it first broke on Saturday is set to rumble on for a little while yet.