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Unusual VAR mistake costs Liverpool and Luis Díaz against Spurs in the Premier League

Colombian international Diaz thought he had put The Reds ahead in the first half but “a significant human error” saw his goal ruled out.

Colombian international Diaz thought he had put The Reds ahead in the first half but “a significant human error” saw his goal ruled out.
PETER CZIBORRAAction Images via Reuters

“We all thought that when VAR came in it would make things easier.” The comments of Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp after his team’s 2-1 defeat in the Premier League to Tottenham Hotspur, marred by a refereeing error which saw Colombia star Luis Díaz have a goal wrongly ruled out for offside.

PGMOL acknowledge “significant human error” mid-match

Such was the extent of the mistake, the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited), the body responsible for refereeing games in English professional soccer, issued the following statement in apology while the match was still being played.

“PGMOL acknowledge a significant human error occurred during the first half of Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool.

“The goal by Luis Diaz was disallowed for offside by the on-field team of match officials. This was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention. However, the VAR failed to intervene. PGMOL will conduct a full review into the circumstances which led to the error. PGMOL will be immediately contacting Liverpool at the conclusion of the fixture to acknowledge the error.”

Klopp unimpressed with apology

“Who does that help? We won’t get points for it,” was Klopp’s reaction following his team’s defeat, which came as a result of an injury-time own goal by Joël Matip.

We have, of course, seen match officials make wrong calls time and again, even with the help of VAR. This one, however, was different.

Bizarre VAR error rules out Diaz’s goal

Unusually, the “significant human error” in question reportedly occurred because the VAR, Darren England, believed that on-field Simon Hooper had awarded the goal rather than disallowed it, with the technology clearly showing Díaz to be onside.

Because of this misinterpretation, when England told Hooper and his team that the VAR check was complete, they understood that the goal was to be disallowed, with the taking of the resulting free-kick meaning play had been restarted and there was no way back.

The goal would’ve put Liverpool a goal ahead just after Curtis Jones had been shown a red card. Instead, Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Spurs three minutes later and, despite Cody Gakpo’s equaliser on the stroke of half-time, The Reds went on to lose their first league games of the season.

Liverpool miss the chance to go top of the Premier League

After Manchester City’s shock defeat to Wolves, Spurs have to within just a point of the top of the table as a result of their win, while Liverpool missed the chance to move into first place.