It’s fair to say that, on the whole, Liverpool Football Club did not deserve to win this game of football against Arsenal on Sunday. However, football is a fickle game, and often the team who ‘deserves’ to win is left wanting because of bad luck or bad referee decisions.
With the introduction of VAR, refereeing has somehow managed to get both better and worse. Obvious infractions are being caught and mistakes overturned. However, it has also lead to hyper-focusing on, say, the exact position of a player’s elbow in the run-up to a goal. The hair-splitting can be frustrating. Every game seems to bring some VAR decision that fans can dissect and discussion.
More rare is a game like Sunday’s, where there were three contentious decisions made by VAR. Two of the decisions went against Liverpool and one went in their favor.
In the aftermath, ESPN’s Dale Johnson went through and analyzed each decision. The most interesting discussion is on Gabriel’s initial goal for Arsenal. The decision came back in his favor, allowing the goal to stand. Johnson shows how, despite there being five cameras on the pitch, there was a blindspot on Saka at the moment of build up to the goal. This meant that the VAR assistants were unable to get a clear line on the player to properly determine his position.
It’s a good intellectual topic, even though it’s hard to get too worked up over the minutiae when the big picture was so miserable for the club.