Super Sunday certainly lived up to its name yesterday as Liverpool took on Tottenham at Anfield.
The earlier match between Crystal Palace vs Newcastle wasn’t the most exciting with the two relegation-threatened clubs playing out a 1-1 draw.
But the clash between Liverpool and Spurs looked to be a classic from the first whistle.
Eric Dier certainly helped towards that by inadvertently putting Mohamed Salah through on goal after just three minutes – and the Egyptian made no mistake with his finish.
But it wasn’t until Victor Wanyama equalised with an absolute screamer with 10 minutes remaining that the carnage started.
A few minutes later, and there was controversy at Anfield once again – a week after the VAR-dominated FA Cup tie against West Brom.
Harry Kane was adjudged to be onside after Dele Alli’s pass due to Dejan Lovren’s touch and, as he attempted to round Loris Karius, he was brought down.
There were two questions: Was Kane offside? And did he dive?
After Jon Moss awarded the penalty, he ran over to his assistant Eddie Smart to check that everything was ok.
What happened next was pretty remarkable.
The TV cameras got close enough to hear every word of the conversation as they tried to determine whether Lovren had actually got a touch or not. And the chat finished with Moss admitted he had “no idea” whether Lovren touched it before asking fourth official Martin Atkinson if he “has anything from the TV” on the pitchside.
Of course, getting a TV involved would have been highly controversial and it would, essentially, be using VAR.
And now, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have now released a statement explaining how they made the eventual decision. They say that Moss’ decision to ask for Atkinson’s help was “misguided.”
Breaking: Full statement from PGMOL to clarify the penalty award in the Liverpool v Spurs match. pic.twitter.com/9RGC1yRw3x
— Richard Conway, BBC (@richard_conway) February 5, 2018
LIVERPOOL FANS REACT
He may not have got any help from Akinson but Liverpool fans are not happy that Moss tried to ask for outside help and clearly gave the penalty without being sure. Check out their reaction:
That sounds like bullshit,if he knew that a Liverpool player touched the ball why would he ask the fourth official then ??
— irishred (@irishred5times) February 5, 2018
This is utter crap. He didn't need to know who touched the ball, he only needed to know if it was touched, which clearly none of them did, so he took a wild guess, then to go on record with a lie. Concerning.
— Tor Ove Holmen (@toroholmen) February 5, 2018
John Moss says his decision to ask Martin Atkinson for TV footage of the first penalty incident yesterday was 'misguided'. 🤔 https://t.co/OmzQt4ZvF1
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) February 5, 2018
@OliverKayTimes Agree completley – 'misguided' not approparite word. Needs to be a full investigation about why Moss was asking about TV in such a casual way. Journalists can't let this one drop!
— Tim Strong (@TimStrong29) February 5, 2018
So PGMOL say they the “match officials judged correctly in recognising that Kane was not offside, as Lovren had deliberately played the ball, and he was fouled for the award of the penalty kick.”
But the fact it, Moss clearly didn’t know that Lovren had touched the ball and shouldn’t have asked Atkinson for help.
It’s all rather irrelevant, though, as Kane proceeded to miss that penalty giving Liverpool the impetus to go up the other end and make it 2-1 shortly afterward though a wonderful Salah goal.
Spurs were then given a second penalty in the 95th-minute when Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have brought down Erik Lamela.
Kane made no mistake this time around to earn his side a point in incredible circumstances.