Liverpool fans and football pundits took to social media to express their reactions after Howard Webb, the head of Premier League referees, confirmed a VAR error that cost Liverpool a penalty in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal. The incident involved Martin Odegaard’s handball, with Webb acknowledging that a penalty should have been awarded.
The confirmation came during the Premier League’s ‘Mic’d Up’ show, where VAR room audio revealed discussions about the Odegaard handball. Lines such as “It clearly hits his arm. That’s not the point I’m looking at. Cool.” and “So he’s falling down. He’s moving his arms in towards him. So it’s check complete for me.” added to the drama, similar to the iconic lines from the controversial Spurs game.
Webb conceded that Odegaard gained a ‘huge advantage’ by pulling his arm back towards the ball, and the officials did not reach the right outcome. He explained, “The feedback we got back afterwards was very clear, the game expects a penalty in this situation, and I would agree. As such, this one did not reach the right outcome on that basis.”
ESPN journalist Dale Johnson revealed that an independent panel voted 4-1 in favor of awarding a penalty in this situation. Despite the VAR blunders in the Spurs and Arsenal games, Liverpool maintains a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League table after 20 games.
Fans and pundits on social media expressed frustration and disappointment over the VAR decisions, questioning the impact on Liverpool’s season overall. The sentiment echoed the belief that such officiating errors should eventually even out over the course of the season, but the impact remains a topic of speculation.