Premier League official David Coote has been temporarily dropped from VAR duties as a consequence of what was allowed to unfold during the Merseyside derby at the weekend.
Liverpool confirmed the worst on Sunday after Virgil van Dijk suffered ACL damage and will require surgery which is likely to rule the Dutchman out of action for the remainder of the season.
The incident occurred after Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford tangled with Van Dijk following an erratic challenge on the Liverpool defender inside the opening 10 minutes of the 2-2 draw.
VAR reviewed the incident although no action was taken on Pickford while Van Dijk was forced to withdraw for Joe Gomez.
Coote has subsequently been met with plenty of criticism following his failure to advise a red card to referee Michael Oliver for Pickford.
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According to The Mail, Coote forgot the rules during the Merseyside Derby. It is claimed that the referee thought that the fact Van Dijk was offside in the build-up nullified the assault on him by Pickford.
It got worse for Liverpool supporters after a stoppage-time winning goal from club-captain Jordan Henderson was ruled out in bizarre fashion, pictures showing that the offside call was contentious, to say the least.
As a result, Coote has been removed from the equation at Stockley Park for the first time this season and will instead take up a role as the fourth official for West Ham’s clash with Manchester City on Saturday.
What RTK has to say
It’s never nice for someone to be punished for making such huge mistakes in the public eye that have warranted serious criticism on a national scale. Unfortunately for Coote, the consequences of his own failings have left Jurgen Klopp short of two world-class players following the injuries to Van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara.
This isn’t the first time he’s made a major error. Last season he failed to chalk off Manchester United’s opener against the Reds after a clear foul on Divock Origi by Victor Lindelof.
What is most frustrating regarding both setbacks, especially with the injury to Van Dijk, is just how preventable the incidents were. As Georginio Wijnaldum rightly stated in his press conference: “he [Pickford] didn’t want to injure Virgil the way he injured him, but the way he took the tackle, he didn’t care about what happened after the tackle.”
The reality is that these events cannot be repeated and such decisions as a byproduct could have serious ramifications on Liverpool’s title and European aspirations.
How long will it be before we can once again focus on the football and not continually discussing contentious VAR controversy?