Former Premier League Referee Pinpoints One Error Against Liverpool Following Burnley VAR Debate

Liverpool secured a 2-0 victory over Burnley on Boxing Day, although they had two goals ruled out, which could have eased their win considerably.

Mark Clattenburg a former Premier League referee, opined that the match officials made an incorrect decision regarding one of the two disallowed goals during Liverpool encounter with Burnley.

Liverpool triumph was somewhat tense, especially before Diogo Jota’s late goal complemented Darwin Nunez’s early score. The match’s complexion changed due to the annulment of two goals from the visitors.

The initial disallowed goal was netted by Cody Gakpo and was swiftly disapproved by referee Paul Tierney. The decision was based on a perceived foul by Nunez on Charlie Taylor. Despite video review, the ruling remained, with replays indicating only minimal contact by Liverpool’s No.9.

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After the match ended, Clattenburg commented on Amazon Prime’s broadcast, stating that while Tierney generally officiated effectively, he made an error in this instance.

“See, I thought Paul Tierney refereed this game really well, he played a wonderful advantage for Liverpool’s second goal but this one I don’t agree with,” he said. “You look at the reaction of the Burnley defender – he puts his hands to his head. He’s gone in front of Nunez and when I see it from different angles I don’t see any contact from Nunez, therefore I don’t see it as a foul.

“Once Paul Tierney gives it – and this is why there’s so many arguments if the VAR is doing his job or not – this is such a subjective call. He’s made the decision on the field of play and the VAR’s gone ‘you know what? There’s not enough to disallow it’.

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“I don’t agree, I think the best decision would have been to play on and the goal be given. There isn’t enough contact, for me, to be awarded as a foul.”

The official who oversaw the Euro 2016 final was also responsible for examining another goal that had been disallowed, scored by Harvey Elliott against James Trafford. Although the goal initially met Tierney’s approval, VAR Simon Hooper suggested a review using the pitchside monitor. After the review, it was determined that Mohamed Salah obstructed the goalkeeper’s view from an offside position, as reported by the ECHO.

There was debate over this decision. Salah had been pushed into the offside position, and Trafford seemed unprepared to stop Elliott’s powerful shot, moving in the opposite direction. Clattenburg, offering insight, mentioned the importance of referees applying the existing laws rather than interpreting goalkeeper movements.

“I can see it from both sides,” he explained. “The referees are applying the laws of the game as they’re written – was Mo Salah in an offside position? Yes. Was he pushed in an offside position? Yes. Was that enough for a penalty? No. Factually he’s in an offside position. Is he in the line of the goalkeeper at the moment Elliott strikes the ball? Yes.

“You can argue the goalkeeper is going one way. Is he trying to go one way to save the ball? We don’t know, we’re not goalkeepers. Referees are only applying laws of the game as they’re written.

“What we look at as well is the distance. Mo Salah is quite close to Trafford, the goalkeeper, in the six-yard box. If Mo Salah was five, ten metres further up it would give Trafford a chance to save the ball, but as the ball is struck there is an argument is Trafford going one way? Would he have had a chance to save it? That is not the referee’s decision, it’s applying the laws as they’re written.

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“Was Mo Salah offside? Yes. Was he in the line of vision? Yes, so I can understand why it was ruled out.

“For me, the easiest decision for the referee once he’s gone to the screen is to disallow it.”

Interestingly, he pointed out that if Elliott had directed his shot to the left side of the goal instead of the right, Liverpool might have increased their lead much earlier in the game.

“If it had gone in the other side [of the goal] I don’t think it would have been an issue, it is because Salah has blocked that side where the ball has gone and doesn’t give him a chance to save it. We don’t want to be working out what the goalkeeper is going to be doing next as we’re just referees, we’re applying the laws of the game. Even if we don’t agree with them, the referees apply the way they’re written at the moment.

“If it had flashed into the top corner on the other side it would have been a very different goal because the goalkeeper would certainly have not had a chance to save it.”

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