Never a dull moment as a Liverpool supporter. What was widely lauded as a season defining match against the Spurs as they traveled to Anfield for round two, ended in a 2-2 draw. Victor Wanyama equalized Mo Salah’s minute 2 goal at 80 minutes, and that’s when things started to get really crazy. Tottenham were awarded two dodgy pens because of two questionable acts inside the penalty area by Harry Kane and Erik Lamela. Virgil van Dijk, paired for the first time today with Dejan Lovren, echoed much of the frustration that came out of the match.
In particular, criticizing the referees decisions regarding both penalties. Van Dijk himself was caught up in the stoppage time incident when he tangled with Lamela and referee Jon Moss considered that enough to give Spurs the chance to equalize again.
“I think the first penalty was offside and I think it is a dive,” Van Dijk said.
“You see him (Kane) diving clearly and no-one is talking about that.
“There is a lot of discussion about whether it is offside, yes or no, but I think it was offside as well. The referee made his decision together with the linesman. It was good for us that it was saved.”
Van Dijk even went on to clarify about what happened to award the second penalty, and even despite Moss’ extensive conference with the linesman. While last week VAR had it’s moment of necessary debate, it became clear that the FA Cup isn’t the only place its necessary.
“For the second penalty, I see him coming and I try and hold my leg in, he just pulled his body in front of the ball and he goes down,” Van Dijk continued.
“The ref said play on and I was very disappointed that the linesman said otherwise. It is a decision the ref already made and the ref is close than the linesman. Unlucky I think.
“First of all it was offside and secondly he just put his body in front of me. I don’t think that is a pen and the same with the first one. That is also clearly not a penalty.”
Unfortunately the game is over and the calls were made and there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it - but there’s the slight possibility of retrospective action. According to the rule enacted this season, Kane and Lamela could face a two match ban if they were found to have feigned their falls to draw a penalty.
“That is not something for me,” said van Dijk when asked if Kane should face that punishment.
“I thought it was a dive - that is my opinion and the referee thought it was no offside and no dive and he gave a pen. Good for us that we saved it.”
Of course, there was plenty of positives to take away from the game, including Loris Karius’ heroic saves and Mohamed Salah becoming the fastest player to score 20 goals in the Premier League, thanks to his two of the day. Even van Dijk admitted that there was more to focus on from the Spurs.
“It was a good goal from Victor (Wanyama). To concede a penalty in the last second of the game was not good,” continued the defender.
“Everybody should talk about Mo’s goal anyway because it was fantastic. Everyone can see how good he is and he showed that today.
“It was a good game for the fans to watch. We are disappointed that we didn’t get the win in the end.”
We were all disappointed, Virgil. Don’t worry.