Ex-Liverpool forward hits back after backlash over VAR show appearance with Howard Webb

The former Liverpool striker appeared on a programme with PGMOL head Howard Webb as they analysed a Man United VAR decision.
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Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has defended the PGMOL's Match Officials Mic'd Up show.

Owen, 43, took part in the programme with PGMOL head Howard Webb, as the pair broke down VAR checks of Anthony Gordon's controversial goal for Newcastle against Arsenal, Cristian Romero's sending off against Chelsea, as well as Scott McTominay's disallowed goal against Fulham.

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The 25-minute show, which was broadcast on Sky Sports and TNT Sports, came in this season to allow fans to gain a better understanding of the process referees and VAR officials go through when making decisions. However, some fans did not take to the show as their resentment for VAR was clear to see. One viewer wrote: 'Mic’d Up is nothing more than a self-congratulatory back patting exercise for Howard Webb in its current format.' While another said: 'It is utterly, utterly useless. Release all the audio, or don’t bother releasing any at all. Don’t pick and choose what you want to release weeks after games.'

In terms of Owen, he was criticised for not challenging any of the calls made, one fan tweeted: "Can we get a someone who is willing to actually question Howard Webb to do the show instead of a puppet like Michael Owen?"

Owen took to X to respond to the criticism as well as the articles written against him. Referring to a newspaper article criticising the show, he wrote: 'You’re just scumbags. Always have been. Trawl through a load of messages until you find a couple of negative ones and then create an article. Most people thought the show was insightful and educational. Which is our aim.'

The process of VAR continues to be a huge talking point this season and both Liverpool and Everton have had plenty of moments to call out.

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Jurgen Klopp's side have received four red cards this season, but three of the four have been highly controversial with Alexis Mac Allister's dismissal against Bournemouth eventually being overturned.

It's a topic that isn't going away anytime soon and, given the fan reaction to this show, it's a system that needs plenty of work to improve.

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