Liverpool certainly aren’t having it all their own way this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side walked to the title last season and, having added the likes of Thiago and Diogo Jota to their squad ahead of this campaign, were expected to do something similar in 2020/21.
While they’re still top, they’ve already dropped 18 points – three more than they dropped in the entirety of their title-winning season.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons for their drop-off.
Injuries have played a massive role with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez being ruled out for the majority of the season.
The congested fixture list certainly doesn’t help matters.
But neither does the officiating.
Last season, the Reds were jokingly dubbed ‘LiVARpool’ with many fans believing VAR favoured them in several decisions.
That definitely hasn’t been the case this time around.
In fact, we think we’ve discovered as many as 16 decisions that have already gone against Liverpool this season. Now, some of decisions may have, ultimately, been correct but Liverpool supporters will no doubt feel hard done by with all of them.
Look away now, Jurgen.
Mohamed Salah non-penalty (vs Aston Villa)
Okay, Liverpool lost the match 7-2 but, when they were just 1-0 down they were denied a stonewall penalty on Mohamed Salah. Seriously, just look at the replay and try to explain how a penalty wasn’t awarded.
Just like yesterday, Salah was fouled against Villa, didn’t get a stonewall penalty, so do you blame him for not being somewhat theatrical? When he’s not, he gets nothing. Either way both are penalties and the Reds are top of the league 😎 pic.twitter.com/Qqzrv46ucQ— Adeel (@adeelarmhead) November 1, 2020
Jordan Pickford’s lunge on Virgil van Dijk (vs Everton)
Van Dijk probably won’t play against this season after Jordan Pickford’s awfully timed tackle. Van Dijk was offside in the build-up so a penalty couldn’t be given. But the Everton goalkeeper should have been sent off. There’s no doubt about that. The VAR on the day, David Coote, was too busy looking at the Van Dijk offside and didn’t realise he could send Pickford off.
Jordan Pickford will not face FA disciplinary action following his collision with Virgil van Dijk on Saturday.— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 19, 2020
The FA only consider retrospective punishments for incidents not seen in the match or at VAR headquarters.pic.twitter.com/wTcW6CHcIf
Jordan Henderson’s offside winner (vs Everton)
Liverpool thought they had won the Merseyside Derby thanks to Jordan Henderson’s injury-time winner. However, VAR adjudged Sadio Mane to be offside in the build-up. Spot the offside…
Sheffield United’s penalty award (vs Sheffield United)
Imagine conceding a penalty for a good tackle OUTSIDE the box. That’s what happened against Sheffield United as Fabinho was adjudged to have fouled Oliver McBurnie.
Mohamed Salah’s disallowed goal (vs Sheffield United)
The on-field officials allowed this brilliant goal to stand. While VAR correctly ruled it out for offside, it certainly didn’t improve Klopp’s opinion of it.
Diogo Jota’s goal disallowed (vs West Ham)
Liverpool thought they had gone 2-1 ahead against West Ham through Jota but VAR disallowed it for Mane’s challenge on goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. In truth, it was the right decision made by VAR.
Penalty award for handball on Joe Gomez (vs Man City)
Man City were given a controversial penalty by VAR after Kevin de Bruyne’s cross hit Joe Gomez on the arm. De Bruyne did miss the penalty but it was an incredibly harsh call.
Mohamed Salah’s offside goal (vs Brighton)
It didn’t look offside in real time. It didn’t look in there replay and it still doesn’t look offside after looking at numerous stills. But VAR decided to interfere and disallow Salah’s first half goal vs Brighton as…offside.
Sadio Mane’s offside goal (vs Brighton)
Okay, this was eventually the correct call by VAR but the onfield officials didn’t spot it.
Brighton’s penalty award (vs Brighton)
Was it a penalty? Wasn’t it a penalty? After slowing it down and watching it 10 times, it could well have been. But was it a clear and obvious error by referee Stuart Attwell for it to be overturned? No chance.
Pascal Gross scores in the 93rd minute! 😱— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 28, 2020
VAR rules Robertson committed a foul on Welbeck and Brighton make no mistake from their second spot-kick of the day! 🎯 pic.twitter.com/4dfHAf0Fwe
Wolves being awarded penalty (vs Wolves)
Liverpool beat Wolves 4-0 at the start of December but it could have been so different. The visitors were awarded a penalty with the scores at 1-0 with Craig Pawson ruling that Conor Coady was brought down. Fortunately, VAR favoured Liverpool for once – but there’s still no getting away that it was an awful decision by the referee.
Foul in the build-up to Fulham’s goal (vs Fulham)
Liverpool could only draw 1-1 to Fulham but Jurgen Klopp felt there was a foul in the build-up to Bobby Decordova-Reid’s goal. Antonee Robinson pushed Mohamed Salah in the back but VAR adjudged there wasn’t a foul.
"It is a clear penalty…"— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 14, 2020
Patrice Evra and Graeme Souness felt that Fulham were denied a clear penalty against Liverpool when Fabinho tackled Ivan Cavaleiro in the box. pic.twitter.com/w0sphhzt3I
Son Heung-min’s ‘offside’ goal (vs Spurs)
Was Son Heung-min’s goal offside? From the replays, it looked incredibly close and it seemed as though there would be a lengthy check to determine whether the South Korean’s armpit had strayed. But within seconds, the officials allowed the goal.
Karl Darlow’s grab on Sadio Mane (vs Newcastle)
Liverpool drew 0-0 with Newcastle and not much was made of Darlow’s grab on Mane as the winger looked set to tap the ball home. Only afterwards did fans spot the foul in which Liverpool should have been awarded a penalty.
The video.— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) December 31, 2020
Does he stop Mané scoring? pic.twitter.com/momQRwgKnR
Jack Stephens’ handball (vs Southampton)
Liverpool felt they should have had a penalty when Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot was blocked by the hand of Stephens. A quick VAR check later and the appeals were waved away.
Kyle Walker-Peters’ foul on Sadio Mane (vs Southampton)
Mane went down in the box under Walker-Peters’ challenge but Andre Marriner didn’t give it.
“What [referee] Andre Marriner did with Sadio Mane tonight, I’m not sure that’s OK, to be honest,” Klopp said after the match.