Liverpool picked up just one point against Aston Villa at the weekend after a Cody Gakpo goal was chalked off.
VAR decisions have been a hot topic of conversation this season and Liverpool’s latest match against Aston Villa was no exception. The Reds found themselves on the end of two controversial rulings during their last home match of the campaign, one being an offside call against what would have been a game-changing goal.
Cody Gakpo thought he’d scored the equaliser for the Reds but his compatriot Virgil van Dijk was flagged offside after a lengthy VAR check. Despite the ball coming off Ezri Konsa in the build up, the verdict went against Liverpool and the goal was chalked off.
Dermot Gallagher discussed the decision on the latest episode of Sky Sports’ Ref Watch, where he analysed the latest round of fixtures and the action that unfolded.
“In law, Gakpo’s goal shouldn’t have stood, the officials have got it correct,” he said. “The way it is written, the referees are in a pickle with it. This is a very tough law to interpret. It’s all about if the player makes a genuine attempt to play the ball. Does he go to block the ball, does it strike him?
“A block is a block. A genuine attempt to play the ball is to take the ball under control, clear it for a corner or to clear it up field. The referee has to second guess the player’s [Konsa] intention.
“The law as it is written doesn’t help the officials. If I was that player I would probably be upset. It’s a very unfortunate part of the law which leaves the officials hamstrung.”
Gallagher also weighed in on Tyrone Mings’ foul on Gakpo, which left large visible cuts across the Dutchman’s chest and stomach. The Villa defender flew into the challenge with a high boot and made contact with Gakpo, earning himself a yellow card.
However, the majority verdict from fans and professionals alike is that Mings should have been shown red, and Gallagher also believes the England international was very fortunate to stay on the pitch.
“There are stud marks all up his chest, he caught him at the top of his chest. He’ll say he got the ball but that doesn’t negate that as we saw with Casemiro earlier in the season,” he said.
“For me, if you put your studs that high into someone’s chest you are lucky to stay on the field. When you are face to face on the field you can’t do that.”
After the latest round of results, Liverpool remain fifth in the Premier League table and their hopes of a top four finish are all but lost. Unless Manchester United lose both of their remaining games and the Reds beat Southampton, they will miss out on Champions League football.