Gallagher: "One of the problems in terms of VAR here is the important replay didn't come down until much after the incident and the game had already restarted. So we had a problem there as it didn't get picked up."
Monday 17 February 2020 20:17, UK
Virgil van Dijk may have been awarded a penalty for Liverpool if the most conclusive replay was shown to the VAR, says Dermot Gallagher in the latest edition of Ref Watch.
Dermot joined Tom White, Sue Smith and Stephen Warnock on Sky Sports News for his weekly review of the big decisions.
INCIDENT: At 0-0, Liverpool could have had a penalty in the second half as Van Dijk was dragged down by Lukas Rupp from a corner but the referee didn't spot it and VAR failed to intervene.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: The Norwich defender is running a huge risk - if the referee sees this he's running a huge risk of giving a penalty away. He's not looking at the ball. One the problems in terms of VAR here is the important replay didn't come down until much after the incident and the game had already restarted. So we had a problem there as it didn't get picked up.
INCIDENT: Willy Boly had appeared to have given Wolves the lead late in the first half but Pedro Neto was adjudged to have been offside by the narrowest of margins in the build-up.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: Neto takes the corner and plays it short to Diogo Jota - Neto is in an offside position but that's not an offence. Where it becomes an offence is where Jota touches the ball then Neto comes towards the ball - he interferes twice as going towards the ball is interfering with an opponent and touching the ball is interfering with play. So he's offside on both counts but it's so tight it went to the VAR, which showed he was just offside. That's how VAR is set up and that's what we've got at the moment. The VAR can do nothing about it - it was offside.
The criticism that has come is from people wanting to declare something offside and onside. What's been produced so far this season just shows how tight the margins were and now people are saying that's not what we wanted, but that's actually what people asked for.
INCIDENT: Steven Bergwijn showed his speed and skill by charging in behind but his run was stopped by a sliding Bjorn Engels inside the box. Initially, no penalty was awarded but a VAR review overturned the decision to the frustration of the home fans.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: I wouldn't blame referee Martin Atkinson one jot here. When Engels makes the tackle and where the ball goes, I instantly thought he got the ball. But the replays show he actually gets the man and that's why the ball goes in that direction. How could any VAR watch that and say it's not a penalty as he clearly doesn't get the ball? I can understand the referee not giving it but I could never understand a VAR not overturning it. It's very difficult to argue that it's not a foul.
INCIDENT: Jack Stephens had a penalty claim turned down for Southampton when his cross struck Ben Mee on the arm.
DERMOT'S VERDICT: It strikes him on the arm but it's come at speed and he can't get out of the way. I think if the referee gave the penalty there, I'd be quite confident that the VAR would overturn it as it isn't a deliberate handball.
INCIDENT: Porto forward Moussa Marega walked off the field during their game against Vitoria Guimaraes on Sunday in Portugal, after he was subjected to alleged racist chanting from home supporters. Objects and stadium seats were then thrown towards the 28-year-old, who was booked for inciting the crowd by the referee. Marega made his feelings clear about the referee, saying: "I also thank the referee for not defending me and for giving me a yellow card because I defend my skin colour."
DERMOT'S VERDICT: There are no winners in these situations as whatever happens there's always someone being very upset - you can see how distressed the player was. He was a victim of the crowd and the referee became a victim of the situation. The referee felt that due to the player's actions after the goal he instigated the chairs coming over. However you look at it, it's a very unsavoury incident. Booking him would have been the last thing the referee would want to do but his hands were tied - it was a situation that was never going to end well.
The referee's empathy has to take over during the period where the player is clearly distressed. He has to try and facilitate the best outcome. The best outcome in this case was the player getting himself substituted as he was in no state to continue and he needed to get away from the environment he was put in. When the game gets back underway fans back off a bit as they've got a game to watch. In that three-minute period when the game was stopped that was the most difficult period for the referee.