Due to refereeing decisions, Liverpool were miffed during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Dermot Gallagher, a former Premier League referee, has backed the decision to overturn Cody Gakpo’s goal against Aston Villa, but feels Tyrone Mings should have been sent off for his careless challenge on the Liverpool forward.
On Saturday, the Reds and Villa played to a 1-1 draw. However, had Jurgen Klopp’s team’s appeal at Anfield been successful, the outcome of the game may have been different.
A significant talking point was when Gakpo’s effort was disallowed in the 55th minute because Virgil van Dijk was ruled to have been offside during the goal’s setup. Ezri Konsa, a Villa defender, was said by many supporters to have made an honest effort to play the ball before it got to Van Dijk, ensuring Liverpool’s No. 4 was not a valid candidate for offside.
VAR determined that Konsa’s touch was not intentional, making Van Dijk involved in the incident and preventing Liverpool from tying the score early in the second half. “I think this is a very tough law to interpret,” Gallagher said when asked to comment on the incident on Sky Sports News. “It’s important to consider whether the player actually tries to play the ball by either blocking it or being struck by it. You can see that the VAR is unable to make a decision, so he is forced to summon the referee to the screen so that he can make the call.
“Van Dijk is in an offside position in front of Diaz when the ball is played, and he doesn’t start moving until Konsa is hit by it.
Blocks are blocks.
Bring the ball under control or clear it for a corner is a sincere attempt at playing the ball. The official moves to the screen and questions the defender. No lines are necessary because everyone can see that Virgil van Dijk is positioned offside.
“Van Dijk receives the ball from Diaz and is still not in violation, but when the ball comes off Konsa, he is in an offside position and becomes involved. The question that arises next is: Did Konsa intentionally play that ball? He did not go for a corner or clear the ball up field, so that answer is no. If he has, it wasn’t a very successful attempt to bring it under control.”
When pressed for a definitive response on whether or not he thought the officials made the right decision, the 66-year-old emphasized that the rules of the game put those in charge of the game in a difficult situation.
In response to the question of whether the goal should have counted, he answered, “In law, no. Because I can see both sides, I feel for everyone when I say, the officials have got it absolutely right. Because of the way it is written, the referees are stuck because they have no other options. Konsa must purposefully play that ball, and the referee must err on the side of caution because it is impossible to be certain.
“The law does not benefit the officials in its current form. The odds are against achieving that objective. Although the way the law is written does not benefit the referee, if I were that player (Gakpo), I would probably feel the same way.”
In his opinion, Mings should have been suspended for his high tackle on Gakpo, which was the subject of the other contentious decision of the day. Gallagher concurred. “I don’t know what else to say, but I thought it was a red card. I would be acting recklessly if I attempted to overhead kick you and then came running in to catch you. You are extremely lucky to still be on the field when you are face-to-face with someone and you lead with your studs and they are that high.”