Why Pascal Gross wasn’t sent off after giving away Liverpool penalty for pulling Dominik Szoboszlai’s shirt

Liverpool fans couldn’t understand why Pascal Gross didn’t receive a red card or even get booked for giving away a penalty for Brighton.

Gross avoided a red card against Liverpool because VAR officials did not see the chance as a ‘clear goalscoring opportunity’.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty at Brighton when the German midfielder pulled down Dominik Szoboszlai inside the penalty area and appeared to make no genuine attempt to play the ball. Mohamed Salah scored to put the Reds 2-1 ahead.

In cases where players have shown an attempt to reclaim possession, they are spared being dismissed by the referee. In this instance, not only did Gross avoid a red card but the 32-year-old also escaped a yellow for this offence.

Guidance on denial of clear goalscoring opportunities states: “Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball or a challenge for the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.), the offending player must be sent off.”

Yet despite Salah’s goal, Liverpool fans were left seething after Gross avoided any further punishment and the ECHO understands that it was because it was felt that Szoboszlai was not moving toward goal and he would have to gain possession in order for the chance to become a goal scoring opportunity.

It did appear as though Szoboszlai would have had just Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen to beat should Gross not have fouled him.

This follows VAR controversy last week when Luis Diaz had a goal ruled out for offside despite the VAR officials confirming it was a goal. Liverpool also had two men sent off in the defeat to Tottenham.



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