Refs' body admits 'significant human error' cost Liverpool

October 1, 2023 12:30 pm

Luis Diaz's goal should have given Liverpool the lead, but VAR failed to intervene despite reviewing the footage, and the linesman's original incorrect offside decision was allowed to stand [Source: BBC]

Referees’ body PGMOL has admitted the decision to disallow Luis Diaz’s goal in nine-man Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur was “a significant human error”.

At 0-0 and with the Reds a man down, Liverpool winger Diaz’s goal was ruled out following an unusually quick video assistant referee (VAR) check by Darren England, in which the customary offside line graphic was not shown.

“PGMOL acknowledge a significant human error occurred,” the statement read. “PGMOL will conduct a full review.”

Article continues after advertisement

It continued: “The goal by Luiz Diaz was disallowed for offside by the on-field team of match officials. This was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention, however, the VAR failed to intervene.”

BBC Sport understands the correct procedure was followed for the controversial decision but the mistake was down to human error.

The lines were drawn in accordance with normal procedure and every other aspect was checked.

However, what is being described by sources as a lapse of concentration led to a loss of focus around the initial on-field decision and then a ‘check complete’ being confirmed rather than an intervention which would have resulted in the goal being awarded.

It is understood referees’ chief Howard Webb has spoken to Liverpool this evening.

The Reds also had Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota sent off, and lost to a stoppage-time Joel Matip own goal after resolutely keeping Spurs out.

Speaking after the match, Jurgen Klopp said his side’s defeat came in “the most unfair circumstances” with “crazy decisions”.

“That is not offside when you see it,” he told Sky Sports.

“The ball is between Mo [Salah]’s legs, they drew the line wrong and didn’t judge the moment when Mo passed the ball right.”

Klopp said the PGMOL statement “doesn’t help” and referenced the apology Wolves received for the decision not to award a penalty at Manchester United earlier in the season.

“I don’t think we should talk too much about that because it doesn’t help at all,” Klopp said.

“Wolves got a similar statement, or apology. They didn’t get a point out of United and we won’t get a point today so it doesn’t help.

“I am pretty sure no-one is making mistakes on purpose but it still happened and at this moment I don’t know why. [We] scored a fantastic goal – would it have changed the game? I don’t know. But probably, because goals help.

“If you want to change you have to do without our voice, if we say something we get fined. They didn’t do it on purpose but if we want to talk about it, do it properly.”

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk said he is “losing faith” in VAR after the referees’ incorrect decision to disallow Diaz’s goal without any intervention from Stockley Park [the VAR hub in West London].

“I’m losing faith, [which] is difficult to say,” he said.

“The VAR should be absolutely clear and obvious with everything they’re deciding on. I’ve seen the still back – on live TV there were no lines being shown. It’s all a bit strange, I don’t know who was in the VAR room and making that decision. It’s not a good thing, it doesn’t look well either. It is what it is, we lost.”

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports the decision was “horrendous” and said it was “clear for everyone” to see that Diaz was onside.

“That is unbelievable! It is very significant. I have defended VAR and offsides being a matter of fact, but there have been a few which I thought were wrong in recent weeks,” he said.

“It was all too quick. That is a horrendous one. It is clearly onside, clear for everyone. Something hasn’t been right the last few weeks. They are picking the wrong cameras to draw the lines on. It is weird.”

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp added: “Everyone will agree, this is onside and makes you wonder how many other decisions they got wrong. It looks like they got that wrong by a yard. It is not a good look. For me, they got that so badly wrong. We are making things so complicated.”