Pablo Zabaleta says something 'incredible' happened during West Ham vs Liverpool last night
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Pablo Zabaleta says something 'incredible' happened during West Ham vs Liverpool last night

The decision not to award West Ham United a penalty against Liverpool last night was simply ‘incredible.’

That’s the view of former West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta. Speaking to ESPN FC after yesterday’s match, the Argentinian claimed that the referee got the call completely wrong.

“100 per cent [it’s a penalty]. I haven’t seen the game but I was looking at the clip and I cannot believe how that was not a penalty,” he said. “For the referee not even to go and check on VAR, incredible. Everyone in the stadium saw it was clearly handball. Incredible.”

Lady luck shines on Liverpool

Whether or not the ball hit Thiago Alcantara’s hand last night is not in question. As Zabaleta points out, the whole world could see the ball strike the Spaniard’s hand not once but twice. Referee Chris Kavanagh also seemed to be well-placed to spot the touch.

Rather, the question is whether Thiago’s hand was a legal or illegal one. Kavanagh presumably relayed to the VAR officials that he’d seen the incident and deemed it nothing doing. As a result, those in Stockley Park would have seen no reason to call it back for another look.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

So, by the letter of the law, the correct decision was reached. Whether that’s right or not is up for debate and, to be honest, we’re not sure that it is.

This time, it’s Liverpool who end up benefitting from such a decision. On another day this will surely go against the Reds. When that does inevitably end up happening, we can’t say that we’d be too pleased about it.

On the other hand, aren’t we all just looking for a bit of consistency in the officiating? As long as this kind of incident is called the same way every time, that’s all we can really ask for.

Over the course of the season, Liverpool have probably deserved the little slice of luck they were handed last night. Now let’s go and make it count.

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