VAR Roars Its Ugly Head
Can Liverpool get back on track against Huddersfield following a week to forget?
Liverpool have had a week to forget.
The Reds crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday to compound a miserable 6 days following their Premier League defeat to Swansea City in the Monday Night Football.
Jürgen Klopp is yet to reach the 5th round of the FA Cup since taking the reins at Anfield and he can have no excuses this time. The Reds boss, who has been heavily criticised for his rotation policy this season, opted to field a strong line-up and Liverpool even had the benefit of technology, with a couple of VAR decisions going their way.
Craig Dawson had a header ruled out for offside but it was a controversial penalty decision that really got tongues wagging, when Mo Salah went down somewhat theatrically following a slight tug of the shirt from Grzegorz Krychowiak. Referee Craig Pawson consulted the pitch-side monitor before eventually awarding a penalty kick.
Roberto Firmino failed to make the most of Liverpool’s good fortune though, striking the woodwork with the resultant effort, his second spot-kick miss of the campaign.
The confusion that surrounded the decision sent social media channels into a furore and it seems obvious that a big screen will be needed in stadiums if this technology gets the green light from the Premier League.
However, Baggies’ boss Alan Pardew threw even more fuel onto the fire, when he blamed the use of VAR for causing injuries to two of his key players. Kieran Gibbs and Hal Robson-Kanu both picked up hamstring injuries and Pardew clearly believes that lengthy VAR induced stoppages were to blame.
The injuries are really beginning to pile for the West Brom boss, so the last fixture he really needed in GW25 was a trip to the Etihad to take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City juggernaut.
The Citizens have almost a 2 and a half goal advantage according to our GW25 Goal Projections (table above), so Pardew will surely be fearing the worst.
Liverpool, themselves, will need to bounce back quickly – they have scored more goals than any other Premier League side on the road – but it’s the goals against column that continues to be a concern and something that will give Huddersfield Town some hope!