After the Premier League’s initial efforts to implement video assistant referee protocols resulted in major criticism from fans and pundits, the league have attempted to tweak their approach for the 2021-22 season in order to allow the games to flow a little better.
For Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, though, it remains an imperfect system. And much of that imperfection, he believes, comes back to the insistence on VAR existing to correct ‘clear and obvious’ errors rather than simply being about trying to get things right.
“In this moment it’s how we use VAR,” Klopp told This is Anfield when asked what he’d like to change regarding rules and officiating. “Clear and obvious? It’s right or wrong. We now have a situation there’s a foul [but] the ref says play on and then you see it was a foul.
“The clear and obvious I would change. [If] the one in the office says, ‘No, it was a foul’ go back for the free-kick or penalty and it would make things so much easier. Now we have another guy in the office who sees it better [but] says, ‘I don’t want to overrule him.’”
It’s a perhaps unexpected stance given it amounts to wanting VAR to take on a larger role rather than a smaller one, the latter of which is what the league appears to be attempting to move towards in an effort to answer criticisms regarding last season’s implementation.
It’s also fair to ask if the league is even capable of giving VAR a more prominent role in a manner that could be implemented quickly and not lead to more complaints. Still, in an ideal world the goal would be to get things right—and that’s all that would matter.
“It’s all about the right decision, nothing else,” Klopp added. So [I would] delete this little phrase, ‘Clear and obvious error.’”