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Mark Clattenburg explains Paul Tierney & VAR mistake in Liverpool disallowed goals

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg believes referee Paul Tierney and VAR Simon Hooper were wrong with only one of Liverpool’s disallowed goals.

Liverpool saw two goals ruled out during their eventual 2-0 win at Burnley on Boxing Day, with Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott both denied.

Gakpo’s powerful finish was chalked off for a supposed foul from Darwin Nunez on Charlie Taylor, despite there being little evidence even in the defender’s reaction.

Later, Elliott saw an effort of his own dismissed due to an offside from Mohamed Salah, judged to be blocking the view of goalkeeper James Trafford, even though the Egyptian was pushed there by Jordan Beyer.

Tierney blew for the foul on Taylor and Hooper, in the VAR booth, saw fit to uphold the decision, while the referee was told to consult the pitchside monitor before disallowing Elliott’s strike.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 26, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott looks on as referee Paul Tierney goes to the VAR screen, before his goal is disallowed, during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Both decisions were controversial and would have been even more so if the result had been different for Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp baffled post-match.

But speaking on Amazon Prime after the game, Clattenburg explained both decisions and why he could see fault in only one of them.

“I thought Paul Tierney refereed this game really well, he played a wonderful advantage for Liverpool’s second goal, but [the Gakpo goal] I don’t agree with,” he said.

“You look at the reaction of the Burnley defender – he puts his hands to his head.

“He’s gone in front of Nunez and when I see it from different angles I don’t see any contact from Nunez, therefore I don’t see it as a foul.

“Once Paul Tierney gives it – and this is why there’s so many arguments if the VAR is doing his job or not – this is such a subjective call.

“He’s made the decision on the field of play and the VAR’s gone ‘you know what? There’s not enough to disallow it’.

“I don’t agree, I think the best decision would have been to play on and the goal be given. There isn’t enough contact, for me, to be awarded as a foul.”

On the decision to rule out Elliott’s goal despite the obvious push on Salah, Clattenburg claimed he “can see it from both sides.”

“The referees are applying the laws of the game as they’re written,” he explained.

“Was Mo Salah in an offside position? Yes. Was he pushed in an offside position? Yes. Was that enough for a penalty? No. Factually he’s in an offside position.”

Clattenburg added: “For me, the easiest decision for the referee once he’s gone to the screen is to disallow it.”