Liverpool suffered a major blow on Saturday evening after Luis Diaz’s goal was incorrectly ruled out against Tottenham Hotspur.
The reds hopes of replaying last weekend’s Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur may have been strengthened by Howard Webb approving such a situation during his time working in America.
Webb became the head of VAR operations in the MLS in March 2017, a post he held up until last summer before returning to England to become the PMOL’s chief refereeing officer.
During his time in the United States, Webb was forced to issue an apology and replay a league fixture after a costly error was made during the 90 minutes of play.
Indeed, a USL Championship contest between Miami FC and Pittsburgh Riverhounds in October 2021 ended 0-0, though the latter were denied what was a legitimate goal.
Officials awarded a goal to Pittsburgh after a Miami free-kick ended up with one of their players passing the ball back to the goalkeeper, who failed to control the ball and saw it roll into the net.
Rules state that a ball that crosses the line directly from a free-kick results in a corner for the opposition side, though this set-piece was first played short to a second player before making its way past the keeper and therefore should have stood.
The match officials incorrectly applied the rule relating to free-kick scenarios, leaving Pittsburgh coach Bob Lilley frustrated.
“[The referees] said it was the first pass, but it wasn’t, clearly,” he said. “We’ve seen it, [Miami coach] Paul Dalglish (son of Kenny) has seen it, and even he said it was a goal. It was a perfectly good goal.”
Following a review of this mistake, the match was restarted at at later date from the 67th minute – the minute after the own goal occurred – with Pittsburgh having a 1-0 lead to their name.
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will be afforded the same luxury, though Klopp is not holding out much hope this will be made possible. Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s Europa League clash with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, the Reds’ boss said:
“The argument against that will probably be if you open that gate then everybody will ask for it. I think the situation is that unprecedented that – it didn’t happen before, I’m 56 years old and I’m 50 years in football.
“I’m absolutely used to, even if I don’t always deal well with it, wrong decisions, difficult decisions – but something like that as far as I can remember has never happened. That’s why I think the replay would be the right thing.
“The next argument would be if it would happen again, I think a replay would be the right thing to do or the referee has the opportunity to bring both coaches together and say ‘sorry, we made a mistake, but we can sort it, that Liverpool score a goal and we start from there’.
“In this specific game, what makes it a bit more special obviously is that we conceded two minutes after we scored a regular goal. How all things depend on each other, if the other goal would have counted, we would have started in the centre of the pitch and not where it started, it would have been different. That’s one thing. That’s my view on it.”