In the wake of last Saturday’s colossal VAR error that deprived Liverpool of a legal, onside goal against Tottenham in a game filled with controversial decisions that they eventually were defeated 2-1 in, the word replay has until now largely been a strawman used to discredit Liverpool.
Nobody at Liverpool was asking for one, and no serious fan voices were, but opposing fans and even journalists and pundits would occasionally damningly ask, what do Liverpool want, a replay? To which Liverpool fans and journalists with ties to the club would respond, no, we want accountability and reform.
Today, though, speaking he said as a football person and not as manager of Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp said actually he thinks there should be a replay. One imagines this will go over like a lead balloon in the wider football world, not that it may especially matter in the grand scheme.
“The audio did not change things at all,” Klopp said when he was asked if the PGMOL’s release of the audio feed from the incident had changed his opinion. “I knew, I saw the outcome, that we scored and it didn’t count. So I was not sitting there waiting for the audio to see what happened.
“What I want to say is that as big and important as football is to us that we deal with it in the proper way. All the people involved—on field refs, linesman, fourth official, and especially now the VAR—they didn’t do it on purpose. But it was an obvious mistake and I think there would have been solutions for it.
“Not as a manager of Liverpool but as a football person I think the only outcome should be a replay. Probably will not happen. The argument against that would be that if we open that gate everyone will ask for it but I think the situation is that unprecedented.
“I don’t deal always with it well but I’m used to wrong decisions, difficult decisions, all these kinds of things. But something like that? As far as I’m aware something like that never happened, that’s why I think a replay would be the right thing—and if it happened again a replay would be the right thing.”
Right or wrong, a replay isn’t going to happen, so it’s hard to see how Liverpool benefit from somebody officially connected to the club putting the word replay into the world—all it will do is make it easier for pundits and opposition fans to write the situation’s aftermath off as Liverpool being unreasonable.
Having garnered sympathy from the wider football world in the aftermath, Liverpool fans saw how quickly it evaporated and people slipped back into tribalism after the club’s hard-line demand for answers and reform. The release of the damning audio, though, served to regain much of it.
Perhaps it won’t much matter. Liverpool against the world is clearly a mindset that has served the club well in the past, and this past week will have entrenched that in the current group of players. And if it is to be Liverpool against the world, well, might as well double down on it.
“I’m not angry with them, any of them, not at all,” Klopp added. “I really think for human beings [involved] you should not go for them. They made a mistake and felt horrible about it. I’m 100% sure they felt terrible about it that night and I don’t think it helps to punish them for it.”