SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Can’t make it up! Odegaard handball VAR appointed for Arsenal vs. Liverpool again

Just two weeks after referee chief Howard Webb confirmed a mistake in the same fixture earlier this season, the man responsible has been appointed again this weekend.

Liverpool were denied a stonewall penalty at home to Arsenal last month after Gunners captain Martin Odegaard was shown to have clearly handled the ball in the penalty area.

The game ended 1-1, but the home supporters were left feeling aggrieved that their team weren’t given the opportunity to take the spoils at Anfield.

David Coote, the man on VAR duty that evening, will assume that role once again at the Emirates as the two sides do battle on Sunday afternoon.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Referee David Coote during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. Brighton won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was he who failed to flag that a spot-kick should have been awarded, with Arsenal defender William Saliba later admitting that his side were fortunate to escape punishment.

Further insult to injury was added when PGMOL chief Webb confirmed earlier this month that Coote and his fellow officials failed to “reach the right outcome.”

Coote has never been a popular figure among Liverpool fans, having “forgot” to check for a Jordan Pickford red card after his tackle ended Virgil van Dijk‘s season back in 2020.

That game also saw Jordan Henderson‘s last-gasp winner controversially ruled out for offside, a decision which ultimately cost Liverpool two all-important points and derby-day glory.

Liverpool’s trip to Arsenal will be refereed by Anthony Taylor, another figure whom Jurgen Klopp won’t be especially pleased to see.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Taylor has had his own run-ins with the Reds boss in the past, and the official failed to give Joelinton what should have been his first of two yellow cards at Anfield earlier this month for a challenge on Dominik Szoboszlai.

Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn will be running the lines at the Emirates, while Craig Pawson takes on fourth official responsibilities.

Tim Wood is the man who will assist Coote from the VAR booth, where there will no doubt be plenty of eyes this Sunday!