This weekend saw The Reds continue their excellent run of form with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp’s side dominated the game from the off. According to Peter Walton, Manchester United were “incredibly fortunate” the scoreline wasn’t greater.
In the first half Virgil van Dijk headed home from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner.
The Dutchman took advantage of some good blocking from Joe Gomez as he rose above the Red Devils to nod past a helpless David de Gea.
Shortly afterwards the centre back challenged the Spanish keeper in the air for a loose ball, the United goalie fell to the ground and Roberto Firmino netted an impressive goal from the resulting loose ball, curling past a recovered De Gea.
The goal was given on the pitch but the VAR ruled it out for a foul on the shot stopper.
Ex-Premier League referee Peter Walton wrote in The Times that Manchester United can count themselves lucky, ruling:
“Manchester United can count themselves incredibly fortunate that VAR chalked off Roberto Firmino’s goal for Liverpool. I do not think there was enough evidence to disallow the goal.”
What RTK has to say
Well, we told you so.
There is no chance that it was a foul on De Gea. Virgil had his eyes on the ball and it was fairly contested.
Unfortunately, there is no consistency between decisions. As Walton pointed out in his article, “there was more contact” when Dominic Calvert-Lewin challenged De Gea in December yet that goal stood.
Fans just want consistency. It is easier to swallow a borderline decision if the rest of them fall the same side of the border.
If The Reds hadn’t held on for three points there would have been more serious questions asked about the call.
The ruling served to perpetuate this damaging attitude that you can’t challenge goalkeepers in the air – players need more clarity on this and keepers need less protection.