Marcus Rashford scored the opener for Manchester United during their 1-1 draw against Liverpool, but should it have stood after a foul in the build-up?
Victor Lindelof caught the leg of Divock Origi just before Rashford scored in the 37th minute, but a VAR review did not rule the strike out despite it appearing to be a foul.
Just minutes after Rashford’s goal was given, Sadio Mane had the ball in the hosts’ net – but VAR this time ruled it out for handball.
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher praised VAR for its second major intervention but Rashford’s goal prompted debate and left Jurgen Klopp fuming.
Reminder of rules
Sky Sports News understands that the referee did not think Lindelof’s challenge was a foul and VAR then decided that it was not a clear and obvious error to not award the foul. VAR does not re-referee matches and while there was contact, VAR was comfortable that it was not enough to disallow Rashford’s goal.
On Twitter, Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui went on to explain…
Here’s why the #MUFC goal was allowed. VAR would have asked what Martin Atkinson saw between Lindelof & Origi. He clearly told them he saw contact but made a decision it wasn’t freekick. As he saw the contact VAR deemed it not a “clear & obvious error” & allowed the goal #MANLIV
— Anton Toloui (@SkyAnton) October 20, 2019
Again, it’s not whether the initial incident looked at by #VAR is a foul, it’s what the referee saw & whether his decision was a “clear & obvious error”. So if Atkinson hadn’t seen the contact or thought Origi had dived then it could be overturned. He did though, so he’s backed
— Anton Toloui (@SkyAnton) October 20, 2019
The pundits’ view
Graeme Souness: “I think Lindelof does catch him. He catches the inside of his left leg and any way you look at that, it’s a foul. [Joel] Matip has to do better with his movement, he has an eye on it at one point but he loses him. There’s definitely contact with Origi and it’s a foul, he’s gone through the back of someone, regardless of his touch.
“What influences them is that Origi goes down spectacularly, he has a poor first touch, the ball has gone away from him, he’s lost possession and I think he overeggs it with the way he goes down. That kind of contact would not generate that kind of force to get him to go down in the way he did.
“The referee will feel like he has been kidded, but there is no doubt about it, you can see the sock rippling and there is contact from Lindelof. Any way you look at it, if you’re kicked from behind, there’s a foul. He doesn’t get anything on the ball and I think they’ve got that wrong.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side deserved a point after ‘everything went against’ his side in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United in Premier League
Jurgen Klopp: “They were better than us and defended well, but in the end they scored a goal that shows all the problems with VAR.
“Mr Atkinson let the game run on because that is the protocol of VAR, and VAR shows there was contact and it was a foul. But we couldn’t change that. They still had 60 or 70 yards to run to score the goal, but it’s not cool.
“I really think the goal they scored is a general thing we need to talk about. The process is important, I can’t say if it is a pen or not, handball or not, whatever. In general I think it’s good we have VAR, but at the moment it seems one of the only things that works is the handball.
“Offside works really well, too. Even if people are unhappy that a tiny bit is offside. But the process, that the ref lets the play go on, doesn’t work… I was telling the bench to calm down, that the VAR had it, and then I was surprised. Then wow.
“We then scored a goal that was disallowed. Pretty much everything went against us today, but we still didn’t lose. We deserved the point, 100 per cent.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “Maybe there is a slight touch, but it’s not a clear and obvious error – no chance. We’re not playing basketball. For me, it is still a man’s game with tackles allowed and the second one is obviously a handball so that was a clear from Mane. Today, we were at the right end of the VAR decisions.”
Solskjaer added, more firmly, in his press conference: “We’re not playing basketball. He touched him, but it’s not enough, it’s not a clear enough error. I don’t think it’s a foul.”
Jordan Henderson: “You know what our feelings were because you saw our reactions when it went in. I just felt that the referee gave a lot of similar types of free kicks to them in the first half, and that one was similar to the one he gave on Marcus [Rashford] early on and he didn’t give it for us. But we’ve got to defend the goal better and it’s not an excuse for us.”
What about Mane?
There was a different feeling for Mane’s handball goal that was disallowed, with VAR given plenty of praise on this occasion.
Jamie Carragher: “It is VAR at its best. That would be given before and now it’s handball – it shouldn’t be a goal. We can have talking points on VAR and disagree with certain things, especially on that first goal, but that was the reason VAR has been brought in.”