Liverpool has demanded an explanation from Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) about two decisions made during the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday.
The Reds have questioned why Cody Gakpo’s goal was disallowed for offside and why Villa defender Tyrone Mings was not dismissed for his hit on the Dutch attacker. Roberto Firmino, a substitute, gave the Reds an equaliser in the 89th minute.
If Liverpool had lost, their chances of winning the Champions League would have been over. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, watched the game from the stands as he served a touchline suspension for the remarks he made against the referee Paul Tierney during his team’s 4-3 victory over Tottenham in April.
The host team improved and appeared to have equalised when Gakpo scored in the 55th minute, but the visual assistance referee (VAR) disallowed the goal for offside in the lead-up.
The ball seemed to be headed by Liverpool forward Luis Diaz into Villa defender Ezri Konsa before rebounding to Virgil van Dijk, who kept the play alive until Gakpo poked the ball into the goal.
Van Dijk was deemed to be offside in the buildup by the Premier League. The Premier League stated that “[Virgil] Van Dijk was in an offside position from Luis Diaz’s header.”
Referee John Brooks found it to be a hit off Ezri Konsa rather than a purposeful play after VAR advised a replay. Liverpool’s Van Dijk admitted he “had no idea” why the goal was disallowed in a post-game interview.
The Dutchman said that he had no idea what was happening. “I approached the official Michael Oliver on the side of the field, and it was a question of whether the Villa player intentionally knocked it back or whatever. However, I have no clue if it was intentional or not.”
“I believe it would be beneficial if we could hear everything they [the officials] talk, everyone nearby, and be clear in the next season.”
Managers, players, and commentators have questioned and criticised the use of VAR technology during the Premier League season. According to Howard Webb, head of the referees, publishing the audio of VAR decisions is a “little step forward” in bringing situations into a clearer focus.