Former Premier League referee explained how Sadio Mané was fortunate to get away with an incident in Liverpool vs Everton. The Reds’ no.10 benefitted from a quirk in VAR.
Liverpool beat Everton 2-0 at Anfield earlier today but it certainly wasn’t routine. This was a fight, just as Frank Lampard promised beforehand.
The Reds put in a terrible first-half, truth be told, and struggled to really lay a glove on Everton. Zero shots on goal explains that but things did pick up in the second. Jurgen Klopp’s fantastic double substitution changed the game and Liverpool found the goals they needed.
But as you’d expect, there was controversy. Everton saw Anthony Gordon booked for simulation in the first half, while they believe there should have been a penalty for the same player in the second. Gary Lineker certainly agrees.
That wasn’t the only time Liverpool benefitted from a decision, though. A scuffle late in the first half, sparked by Richarlison going down and Abdoulaye Doucouré fouling Fabinho, led to Sadio Mané perhaps getting very lucky.
He put his hands in the faces of Mason Holgate and Allan – but escaped any punishment. Both incidents were almost certainly worth a yellow card each. Liverpool legend Graeme Souness believes Mané probably should have walked but got away with it.
So why didn’t VAR intervene? Dermot Gallagher explained things to Premier League Productions, believing it’s a fault in VAR.
Liverpool vs Everton
“I think it raises a number of issues,” said Gallagher. “I think they’re both yellow card offences and this is where the VAR is hamstrung.
“It looks at them both and says ‘that’s a yellow card and not a red card so I can’t get involved’. He can’t recommend a yellow card. Mané has been very fortunate for himself.”
There’s no escaping that Mané got away with one there. He should have gotten two yellows for the incident but as Gallagher says, VAR can’t step in and recommend that – only straight red cards and penalties.
Was it a moment that affected Liverpool being better than Everton on the day? Of course not but it’s one that could have given the Toffees a chance. Mané has got to be more careful going forward – referees will be watching.