‘Led to believe’ - Alan Shearer gives blunt VAR verdict after Liverpool’s loss to Tottenham

Liverpool were left to rue decisions in their 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
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Alan Shearer reckons the decision for Luis Diaz’s goal not have been overturned by VAR in Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Tottenham was ‘incomprehensible’.

The Reds suffered their maiden defeat of the 2023-24 campaign in north London, although the clash was riddled with controversy. Curtis Jones was sent off for the visitors after a challenge on Yves Bissouma following a VAR check, having initially been branded a yellow card by referee Simon Hooper.

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Yet Liverpool thought they took the lead through Luis Diaz, although he was flagged offside. Replays showed that the winger was in fact in a legal position when played through by Mo Salah and the referees' body PGMOL has since admitted ‘a significant human error’ after a swift check was carried out by VAR referee Darren England.

Jurgen Klopp’s side would go on to lose the game, as well as having Diogo Jota dismissed for two cautions in the second period. Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Tottenham in the 38th minute but that was cancelled out by Cody Gakpo’s strike for Liverpool in first-half stoppage-time. The Reds defended admirably with nine men but were left heartbroken when Joel Matip turned into his own net in the 96th minute.

Speaking on Match of the Day, Shearer was left baffled as to why Diaz’s goal was not given. The former Newcastle striker said: “It’s incomprehensible. The one bit of VAR that we have accepted, learnt and can’t argue about is the offside. Now this is going to put so much doubt into decisions that have gone on beforehand and in the future because of this. It is a monumental error, he is clearly onside. We actually spotted straight away within a second or two that it’s not offside.

“What we’re led to believe is that Darren England, who was in the VAR hub and Daniel Cook who was the assistant VAR, they have done all that they should have done in terms of drawing the lines. Instead of saying to the referee Simon Hooper you need to allow a goal, for some reason, he’s had a huge lapse in concentration and said check complete.

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“My argument to that is what is the point in having an assistant VAR? I’ve worked out there’s about 30-35 seconds to him making the decision and then kick-off. It’s a huge error, that’s the VAR [referee] Darren England but why can’t Daniel Cook say: ‘Hold on a minute, before you kick-off, we need to stop this rather than going through this process that we’ve made a huge error?’ We could have and should have stopped it before the kick-off.”

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