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VAR in the spotlight again after awarding Sheffield United penalty without checking if foul actually took place
The Video Assistant Referee system has taken centre stage in English football once again on Saturday night, after awarding a penalty to Sheffield United versus Liverpool.
The Reds and Blades are currently locked in action at Anfield, in a Premier League clash.
Jurgen Klopp’s champions no doubt headed into proceedings with their sights firmly fixed on all 3 points, having failed to pick up a victory in either of the club’s last two league outings.
Sheffield United, though, had endured an altogether disappointing start to their own campaign. With 5 outings played prior to tonight, the surprise package of last season’s Premier League campaign had secured just a solitary point.
As such, it came as a surprise to the masses when it was the Blades who took the lead at Anfield.
The opener came with 13 minutes on the clock, from the penalty spot.
After Fabinho went to ground in an attempt to to dispossess Oli McBurnie on the edge of the box, referee Mike Dean quickly whistled for a free-kick.
A VAR check followed, though, upon which it was decided that the Brazilian’s challenge had in fact taken place inside the box.
As such, a penalty was forthcoming, with Sander Berge having stepped up to slot away the ensuing spot-kick with minimal fuss.
Sander Berge slots it home. 🤩🇳🇴 pic.twitter.com/Adq8WjeljM
Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) October 24, 2020
Berge’s strike, however, was swiftly followed by a major outcry on the part of the Liverpool faithful.
Upon replays being broadcast, it did appear as though Oli McBurnie’s foot was on the line of the hosts’ area upon contact being made by Fabinho.
The issue, however, was not whether or not the incident took place inside or outside the box. Instead, it surrounded the fact that the Liverpool star, who was fielded in a centre-half role once again this evening, had in fact won the ball before connecting with McBurnie.
As such, the general assumption was that VAR had simply interpreted Fabinho’s challenge, incorrectly, as a foul.
This aspect of the incident, as has since been confirmed, however, was not even checked.
Bafflingly, the VAR team focused their attentions solely on whether contact between the two players in question had taken place inside or outside the Liverpool box.
In turn, the officials failed to ascertain whether or not Mike Dean’s initial interpretation of the challenge as a foul was correct or not.
Clarification from the Premier League re; Shef Utd penalty that was awarded. VAR only ruled on whether the incident was inside or outside the box, not on whether a foul took place or not.
Matt Critchley (@MattCritchley1) October 24, 2020