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“5 points robbed” but “still top” – Liverpool fans react to “pathetic” VAR handball farce

Liverpool fans were forced to relive yet another VAR blunder on Tuesday night, with referee chief Howard Webb admitting a penalty should have been awarded for Martin Odegaard’s handball last month.

It has been a season littered with refereeing errors so far in 2023/24, with a breakdown in communication costing the Reds a legitimate Luis Diaz goal away at Tottenham back in September.

Supporters needed little confirmation that Odegaard committed an offence in the area during the 1-1 draw with the Gunners at Anfield before Christmas, with Webb’s explanation only serving to add to the frustration.

The former referee took part in the latest episode of ‘Match Officials Mic’d Up’ on Sky Sports to discuss the latest series of controversial incidents, with the Arsenal skipper’s handball naturally on the agenda.

“Whether it’s instinctive or deliberate, he gets a huge advantage by bringing the arm back towards the ball,” Webb conceded while reviewing the footage.

“The feedback we got back afterwards was very clear, the game expects a penalty in this situation and I would agree. As such, this one did not reach the right outcome on that basis.”

It provides little comfort for fans, who were well aware an infringement had been made in the first instance, and there was naturally plenty of discussion on social media afterwards…

 

Many were baffled by the process…

“So that’s 5 points already. What a bunch of useless refs monitoring VAR.”

Maybe Lloyd in the comments.

“Apparently this the new normal. Admit they cost Liverpool the game after few weeks.

“If the championship comes down, again, to one or 2 points, this game, and others would be the ones deciding it. Still no one really held accountable for such incompetence.”

swiv in the comments.

“What I don’t understand from this is, the ref clearly says he has his hand on the floor. VAR and the AVAR can clearly see that his hand wasn’t on the floor so how is that not a clear and obvious error from the ref?”

Jamie Burke on Facebook.

 

And plenty questioned the familiar role of Coote…

“No consequence though for failure to meet the minimal acceptable standard of competency. That is the question to Howard Webb.

“When will gross error result in consequence up to & including termination?

“Not a ‘LFC’ issue. System wide level of incompetence.

“The idea of an independent panel not under the PGMOL is the way forward out of this mess. American sport utilises that concept and it works.”

in the comments.

 

Despite another apology for a costly error – Liverpool are still top of the league…

“We should be three points better off (2 points from the Arsenal game and at least one from Spurs). That would put us five points clear of City and Villa as well as 9 points clear of Arsenal and Spurs when you deduct the points they wouldn’t have gained. We can’t change it and in my opinion it’s still going to be a ‘two horse race’ between us and City with us 100% in pole position. Howard Webb and his cronies can do one, they’ll only derail us if we let them.”

Steve in the comments.


Despite yet another oversight costing Liverpool points, Jurgen Klopp‘s side still find themselves at the top of the pile as we embark on the second half of the campaign.

It is a testament to the resilience and character shown by the Reds that they have overcome such adversity to sustain a title challenge, despite there being something of an officiating crisis across the division.

Reviewing such mistakes live on air doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for fans to accept them, but it at least provides some level of the transparency that Webb has promised to deliver.

Let’s hope the universe balances out and we are handed some fortune of our own between now and May!