Jordan Pickford should have been sent off for his tackle on Virgil van Dijk; Man Utd and Crystal Palace should not have been awarded penalty as Dermot Gallagher warns against touching officials after Sergio Aguero's incident with Sian Massey-Ellis
Monday 19 October 2020 21:44, UK
Jordan Pickford should have been sent off for his tackle on Virgil van Dijk but "human error" was to blame for no red card, Dermot Gallagher told the latest Ref Watch.
INCIDENT: In the sixth minute of the Merseyside derby, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford came out to meet Virgil van Dijk in the area, making a high, sliding tackle. He caught the defender around the knee, sending him clattering over, but no penalty was given with Van Dijk having already been flagged for offside.
But there was no booking made either - yellow or red - with neither the referee or the VAR officials deeming it worthy of a review. Van Dijk was substituted soon after and will need knee surgery, facing an extended spell on the sidelines.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Incorrect decision.
DERMOT SAYS: "I think the process was followed in some ways but it was flawed. When the officials see it, they think 'we have to check for a penalty'. There's three steps - is it offside, is it a penalty, is there further sanction?
"What they have done is thought 'is it a penalty?', which it is, so you have to go back and check if it is offside. They check that and it is offside so that negates the penalty. It then got overlooked to go to step three, which is shouldn't have done and we all know it should have been a red card, but it was a human error and all we can do is apologise for it.
"There's nothing more you can say. The process went backwards to go forwards, it stopped at step two and didn't go to step three. Simple as that."
Could someone not have told the VAR officials about the incorrect decision?
"Firstly, the VAR hub is totally enclosed, people can't access it and they can't ring out. Then by the time you realise that they're going to restart with the offside decision, even if you get hold of them, it's too late because the game would have restarted and as we all know, once the game restarts, you can never go back.
"It's easy looking back now, it's a red card and I think anybody looking at it on the day from an outside position would say red card, it was just going through the protocol didn't work as it should have done."
Can there be retrospective action against Pickford?
"It's a difficult question to answer. I'm not sure how it exactly works regarding this because it is such an unusual circumstance."
It was later confirmed Pickford will not face retrospective action from the FA. VAR reviewed the incident and decided Liverpool should not be awarded a penalty as Van Dijk was in an offside position. VAR also concluded Pickford's challenge was not worthy of a red card.
The FA will only consider retrospective punishments for incidents not seen by match officials on the pitch or at VAR headquarters at Stockley Park.
INCIDENT: In the last moments of the game, Jordan Henderson scored what would have been the winner, but it was disallowed for offside. A VAR review judged Sadio Mane - who set Henderson up - had his elbow just ahead of the Everton defence in the build-up, although an arm cannot be offside.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct decision with the technology available.
DERMOT SAYS: "All I can do is explain the parameters of VAR. When they set it up, this was the best system available to them at the moment, all 20 teams bought into it, they know how it's going to work. It's the one element of VAR that is absolutely solid, it's either offside or not. When the VAR officials drew the lines across, they felt that Mane was just offside and it was given as such.
"Earlier in the season, we talked about fine margins and one thing it does show is that we didn't know how fine they are. It's going to come down to millimetres in the end and that's what it did on Saturday.
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"I look at it and think 'how tight is that?'. I wouldn't have wanted to be the VAR making that judgement on Saturday. It's such a tight call but with what he had at his disposal and will have for the rest of the season is the best process at the moment and that said offside. You can't fight that judgement - with offside and VAR, it's either offside or not, there's no subjective decision which there is in many other decisions in refereeing."
INCIDENT: Richarlison was sent off in the 90th minute after a crunching challenge on Thiago. He launched into the tackle with his studs showing with another Liverpool player injured in the process.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Correct decision.
DERMOT SAYS: "I think this is all about the referee's position. If you see where Michael Oliver is, he can see the distance Richarlison has travelled, the speed he's travelled and he can see the impact. I think with that combination, without doubt it's a red card. It all stacks up and all boxes are ticked."
Was Saturday the day Liverpool's title hopes took the cruellest of turns?
Jasper Taylor is joined by Gerard Brand, Ben Ransom and Keith Downie to dissect the weekend's action in the Premier League, leading of course with Van Dijk's ACL injury and what that might mean for the champions.
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INCIDENT: Man Utd were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute as Jamal Lewis clipped Marcus Rashford at the top of the area. VAR reviewed the incident with referee Craig Pawson using the pitchside monitor before awarding the penalty to the visitors. Bruno Fernandes saw the resultant spot-kick saved by Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Incorrect decision.
DERMOT SAYS: "I didn't think it was a foul and I've spoken to colleagues who think it is. Lewis doesn't get the ball, there's no doubt about that, but I wonder if there's enough contact to make Rashford go down.
"That said, it's got sent to VAR and the referee went to the monitor. I'm always of the opinion that even if the referee comes back and makes a decision that you don't agree with, at least he's taken ownership of it. He's looked at it again and decided it's a penalty so I admire him for that."
INCIDENT: Crystal Palace were awarded a penalty in the first half after Brighton's Tariq Lamptey was penalised for a foul on Michy Batshuayi. However, replays showed there had been little contact but there was no VAR review used for the decision. Wilfried Zaha scored the resulting penalty for Crystal Palace - their only shot on target in the entire game.
Brighton manager Graham Potter told Sky Sports after the game: "Watching it [the penalty] live, I thought it was soft. I think if you're going to defend the referee, as soon as his [Batshuayi's] arm is up, there's an excuse but at the same time, just because his arm is up, it doesn't mean it's a foul either. I think he went down quite easily but I'm not sure it was a penalty."
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Incorrect decision.
DERMOT SAYS: "There was minimal contact. Batshuayi feels a hand on his back and the fact he throws his arms in the air… I think the referee has seen him fall and thinks Lamptey has pulled Batshuayi down but I don't think he has.
"Unfortunately, when it got referred to VAR, they didn't think it was a clear and obvious error and therefore the penalty stood. From my point of view, I don't think it's a penalty at all but from the referee's angle, he thinks Lamptey has pulled the striker down and VAR went with it."
INCIDENT: During the first half, Sergio Aguero contested a decision to award Arsenal a throw-in with assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis. As she walked away, Aguero put his arm around her shoulder to try and talk to her, with the official brushing him off before the striker made his way back onto the pitch. While the incident caused a stir on social media, the match officials did not believe any formal action was required.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Advises against touching match officials.
DERMOT SAYS: "I would seriously discourage any player from doing this. It's not advisable. In defence of Aguero, it's almost an inquisitive touch, he probably didn't realise he did it but he shouldn't do it. I wouldn't be surprised if he was reminded today by his team not to do it."