The Premier League have made a controversial VAR decision for Liverpool’s clash with Leicester City. It’s one they didn’t have to make.
It’s ridiculous how often everyone talks about VAR. It really shouldn’t be that interesting – after all, it’s merely another way of refereeing a game.
A series of bizarre decisions force everyone’s hand, however. It could be a nonsensical handball call given after five minutes of slow-motion replay.
Sometimes it’s because a player is judged offside because he’s pointing ahead of the defender’s furthest leg.
And on one occasion, everyone is talking about VAR because the guy watching the video spent so much time judging an offside call that he ignored the season-ending knee-high tackle in the footage.
That one, for a lot of very good reasons, will stick in the mind of every Liverpool fan all season.
Particularly, though, it’ll be there on Sunday.
The Premier League announced referees for Matchweek nine on Monday. Their choice for Liverpool v Leicester at Anfield is the most interesting, though – David Coote is back on VAR.
The same referee who didn’t rule anything on Jordan Pickford’s ‘tackle’ on Virgil van Dijk. So here we are, a month later, and Coote is back in the exact same position.
The Premier League took him off VAR duty after the Van Dijk incident. He returned a week later, which is what it is, but to put him back on a Liverpool game so quickly is bizarre.
Who, for one, does this benefit? Even if you take the mindset that everyone makes mistakes and Coote just had a bad day, putting back on a Liverpool game so soon just asks for an unnatural amount of pressure.
Coote will likely have to be perfect for the game. Any mistake – let alone one that costs Liverpool – will face more scrutiny than anything else this weekend.
Fans will mention his name far more than any referee should hear, too. Coote will be one of the stars of the show, no matter what.
It just seems like an unnecessary and strange decision from the Premier League. The pressure and, quite honestly, accountability for a terrible mistake should have come into play.
Instead they haven’t and things are back to ‘normal’. We can only hope for a straightforward Sunday or the Premier League may never hear the end of this one.