Postmortem: Missteps in Officiating Eclipse Premier League Thriller

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Tottenham 2 – 1 Liverpool – The Postmortem

This was the most peculiar, unjust, bizarre, and infuriating game that I can recall. I tried to hold on off on writing this piece, in the hope that some clarification would be forthcoming on the VAR issues that marred this contest. It would be pointless and quite frankly irritating to retell the plethora of controversial decisions that led to Liverpool losing this game, until full transparency has been issued by the incompetent group known as the PGMOL.

Jürgen Klopp’s starting line-up is listed below.

The Starting Eleven

Alisson Becker

Joe Gomez

Virgil van Dijk (c)

Joël Matip

Andy Robertson

Alexis Mac Allister

Dominik Szoboszlai

Curtis Jones

Mohamed Salah

Cody Gakpo

Luis Díaz

Subs

Diogo Jota – Cody Gakpo (45 mins)

Trent Alexander Arnold – Joe Gomez (73 mins)

Ibrahima Konaté – Luis Díaz (73 mins)

Wataru Endō – Mohamed Salah (73 mins)

Ryan Gravenberch – Alexis Mac Allister (80mins)

Red Cards 

Curtis Jones – 26 mins

Diogo Jota (2 yellow cards) – 69 mins

Goals

Tottenham 1 – 0 Liverpool

Son Heung-min (Richarlison) 36 mins

Tottenham 1 – 1 Liverpool

Cody Gakpo (Virgil van Dijk) 45 mins

Tottenham 2 – 1 Liverpool

Joël Matip (own goal) 90+6 mins

The First Half

This opening period of this game saw Liverpool gain the territorial upper hand, in what was a strong end to end battle between two of the Premier League’s most exciting teams. Both Klopp and Tottenham’s new manager, Ange Postecoglou, endorse high intensity brands of football and it made for a tense initial exchange between two Champions League qualification hopefuls. Just as the game threatened to bring its first goal, Curtis Jones found himself red carded for an offense that in no way deserved more than the original yellow that was handed down. In seeing his foot slide over the top of the ball (from a lower starting position), the eventual landing spot on a Tottenham player was all that was later shown to the on pitch official, in a series of freeze frames that allowed no context to the actual and entirety of said challenge. There is no arguing the foul, however, the dismissal was farcical and represented the first moment in a succession of attempts (by the officials) to ruin the encounter. After the game changing decision, it would take just ten minutes for the home side to take the lead, as the Spurs captain, Son Heung-min, tapped home a well-crafted move. Despite the horrid period, Liverpool rallied and managed to get into half time with a 1-1 score line, after Cody Gakpo equalised at the death of the first half with a well struck shot past the keeper.

The Second Half

On resumption of the second half, the suspected injury to Cody Gakpo (sustained whilst scoring his goal), meant the arrival of Diogo Jota for the second period was a must. As a result of two yellow cards, Jota would also be sent from the field of play early, with the reds now utterly decimated in their supposed game-plan. The drastic changes came quickly, as our German manager soon deployed a group that would need to bed in and attempt to weather the incoming storm. Despite some promising breaks, the remainder of this game was nothing more than a show of brave and determined defiance by a defensive visiting team, as the visitors gave their upmost to preserve an unlikely point.

The unfortunate last few moments saw a well-earned point ripped away, yet another ball into the box was painfully prodded beyond a helpless Alisson Becker and into the roof of the net. Joël Matip was the heroic player that conceded that own goal, which saw the match end 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur. The reds were courageously beaten in a thrilling yet saddening game of football, one that was tarnished by those with oversight.

What Are My Final Thoughts…?

Calamity in officiating is my sole concern, however, this appears to be the critical juncture that may enforce much needed change. It was a combination of human error and absurd decisions by the refereeing collective and it could be costly to Liverpool in the final Premier League standings.

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