Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he wants his side’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur replayed after Luis Diaz’s goal was wrongly ruled out for offside in one of the worst VAR errors in history.
The score was 0–0 in the 34th minute at the time of the incident, and Liverpool were losing 2–1 to a Joel Matip own goal in injury time.
– VAR review: What went wrong for Luis Diaz’s offside goal
– VAR’s scariest moment: Diaz offside, Alisson two red cards
But does Klopp have any grounds for replaying the match? And is it even possible? We see what happened.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the referees’ governing body, acknowledged that “standards were below expectations” for Díaz’s goals.
During the game VAR, Darren England mistakenly deemed the on-field decision a “goal”. He quickly identified that Diaz was onside, telling the referee “check complete” – which erroneously indicated to the on-field team that the offside flag was correct.
Play resumed with the score still 0-0.
PGMOL later released the full audio of the VAR conversation.
What did Klopp say?
On Wednesday, he told a news conference: “Not so much as a Liverpool manager, but as a football person, I think the only result should be a replay. Probably not going to happen. The argument against that would probably be that if we open that gate then everybody will want
“I think the situation is so unprecedented that … something that, as far as I can remember, has never happened. So a replay would be right.”
Did Liverpool really want a replay?
Not yet, as Klopp said the club is still “going through the information we have.”
On Sunday night, Liverpool issued a strongly worded statement that said the error “undermined the integrity of the sport.”
Is a replay even possible?
Yes. As you can imagine, such a possibility is covered Premier League Rule Book.
Rule L.18. Says: “The Board shall have power to order a league match to be replayed, provided a Commission in exercise of its powers under Rule W.51 makes a recommendation to that effect.”
What will be the next step?
Liverpool should complain to the Premier League. A commission will then be constituted (as per Rule W.51) to assess the merits of the case and reach a decision.
The commission’s remit includes “recommendation that the Board order that a league match or other such match … be replayed.”
Have you ever played?
Not in English league football. Cup games are replayed for a number of reasons, including a team making too many substitutes or fielding an ineligible player.
Famously in 1999, an FA Cup game between Arsenal and Sheffield United was replayed after the Gunners scored from a throw-in and knocked the ball away to treat an Arsenal player. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger later offered to replay the match.
So do Tottenham themselves offer replays?
That might help things, but the Premier League still needs to agree, at the risk of setting a precedent.
Do Liverpool have grounds for a replay?
This is where it starts to go downhill.
The VAR protocol, which is part of the Laws of the Game, states: “In principle, a match is not invalid because of: Incorrect decision(s) involving VAR (since VAR is a match official).”
So Liverpool have no chance?
This is where we need to revisit Liverpool’s statement, where they said very specifically: “It is clear that the laws of the game were not properly applied.”
While an incorrect decision may not be grounds for replaying a game, failure to properly apply the laws of the game may be viewed as a valid reason.
However, this is usually a more technical reason, such as a missed penalty allowing a team to score a goal through an incorrect application of the restriction.
Laurens: Díaz offside is the biggest VAR mistake of the season
Julien Lawrence recalls Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal against Tottenham. Liverpool’s biggest VAR mistake in the Premier League so far this season.
Will Liverpool argue?
Perhaps they will say the match officials did not make the “wrong” decision. VAR knew Diaz was onside, and should have told the referee the forward was onside. Therefore, it is a mistake to apply the decision rather than simply being wrong.
Are there any VAR precedents?
The goal France disallowed against Tunisia at the World Cup last year is probably the closest.
Antoine Griezmann thought he had equalized deep into stoppage time, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. However, the referee restarted the game and then blew it for full time before a review took place — which broke VAR protocol. The goal should not have been denied.
France protested and wanted the goal reinstated, but the appeal was rejected by FIFA’s disciplinary committee and the result stood.
What about similar events?
Why didn’t Arsenal get a replay when VAR failed to disallow Brentford’s goal for offside last season? VAR didn’t notice there was a player offside, so it was an error.
What happens to Sheffield United’s goal in their 0-0 draw with Aston Villa if goal line technology fails? VAR didn’t check for technical failure, so they didn’t know it happened.
And how about Brighton’s disallowed goal at Crystal Palace when VAR drew the line on the wrong player? The VAR decision was offside and was communicated as offside.
For Liverpool, the VAR decision was onside and communicated as offside, and they would point to the difference.
Does Liverpool have any chance of success?
It is highly unlikely. Although this was a unique situation, it would set a dangerous precedent.
If they did, could Wolves ask for a replay of their game at Manchester United after they were wrongly denied an injury-time penalty by a poor VAR decision?
If Liverpool make an official request, it is unlikely to go down well with the other clubs, who have all suffered injustices of their own, none more so than Brighton who suffered a catalog error last season which could affect their chances of playing. Champions League this season.