After two soft penalties were given against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp was left in a state of anger during his post-match press conference.
The standards of refereeing in Europe and in England’s top flight especially has reached a point that in spite of the fact that VAR takes up to four minutes at times to reach a conclusion, the new technology is pivotal for the future of football.
On Sunday night at Anfield, referee Jon Moss and his assistant referee Eddie Smart were embroiled in controversy as two penalties were awarded to Tottenham in circumstances they clearly should not have been.
The first penalty, came after Harry Kane simulated contact with Loris Karius in the box, trailing his legs behind him to ensure the German ‘keeper would bring him down and give away a penalty.
The assistant referee ruled that Kane was onside after a skewed clearance from Lovren played the striker in behind. Yet, in my view of things, the Croatian only played the ball because of the threat that Kane posed.
As things happened, however, Karius proved heroic and saved the penalty and Mohamed Salah went and scored what looked to be the match winner in the 92nd minute only for another penalty to be awarded.
This time, under the most bizarre circumstances. Jon Moss waved away Erik Lamela’s theatrical attempt to win a penalty after Virgil van Dijk caught him on the calf while pulling out of his clearance.
Yet, after earlier overruling his assistant referee, Moss decided to go with Eddie Smart’s version of events and award another penalty to Spurs in the 94th minute. This time, Kane buried his spot-kick after earlier fluffing his lines.
Jurgen Klopp, however, was furious after the game as he felt the match officials negatively influenced the game.
“It was clear, two sides high quality who wanted to win desperate, obviously. That made the game. But the result was massively influenced by, I would say, linesman decisions,” Klopp told Sky Sports after the game. “That’s it. How always, we have to take it. That’s how it is.”
When asked whether he had received an explanation from the referee, the Liverpool manager replied: “When did you ever hear [that]? I’m not allowed to go into the room until half an hour after the game, so how?
“Do you think he comes to me and say: ‘Sorry, I made a mistake for the first penalty?’ Because it was clear offside. I don’t know what they were discussing, to be honest. And the second one, yes, Virgil van Dijk touched him, but we all know Lamela wants the touch. That’s the situation.
“They will explain it with the touch, but we all know. There were so many hard fouls, especially in the first half, which we didn’t get any free kicks in these situations. It was always like ‘come on, go and play.’ That was obviously the level for the game today. That’s OK.
“Then a situation like that in the last minute. Wow. You need to be sure or leave it, but he obviously wanted to be in the middle of interest. Now he is. I cannot change that.”
Liverpool are still third in the Premier League, a point above Chelsea and two above Spurs although the Blues take on Watford tonight at 20:00 GMT.