International Soccer

Premier League referee chief explains why Liverpool were not awarded late penalty against Man City

PGMOL chief Howard Webb has defended the decision not to award Liverpool a late penalty in their 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

The Reds were left furious when their top-of-the-table clash ended with Jeremy Doku catching Alexis Mac Allister high in the penalty area. Referee Michael Oliver declined to award a penalty and VAR Stuart Attwell did not intervene.

Speaking on Sky SportsMatch Officials Mic’d Up, Webb accepted the controversy surrounding the decision but defended the VAR decision not to overturn the on-field ruling.

“This one has split opinion,” Webb began. “I think it’s one where had the referee given it on the field, it would have been ‘check complete’ by the VAR.

“But having not given it, it is also ‘check complete’. You can hear Michael Oliver say that the ball is in between. The ball is too low to head… Doku lifts his foot to play the ball and he does make contact on the ball. We know there is some contact on Mac Allister as well so he’s not really playing the ball either.

Alexis Mac Allister, Jeremy Doku

Mac Allister was left on the ground / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

“I think it would have been ‘check complete’ either way as he doesn’t want to be re-refereeing the game in situations that are not really clear.

“In this situation, the VAR stays out of it and I think that’s what we would expect. It’s a massive game, so as a referee, you just want clarity and certainty that you’re making the right decision. You don’t always have sufficient information that you’re making the right decision. You need that on big moments in and around the penalty area.

“You do everything you can to be in the right position. Michael didn’t have certainty in this situation but VAR didn’t have any clear and obvious evidence to overturn the on-field decision. It’s subjective and so stays out of it. VAR followed the right course in not getting involved.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp argued Doku’s challenge was “100% a foul” and insisted “all football people” would agree, going as far as to question what Attwell had eaten for lunch in the build-up to the game.

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