Malicious Persecution

[Spurs 2 – 1 Liverpool].

Are you fuming? I know I am.

So yes, Spurs beat Liverpool. That’s the final scoreline, them’s the breaks. We can’t undo that, but let’s be fair, this particular game is one that on paper we could afford to lose in a long season – more so, say, than City at Molineux earlier today. It’s not the final result that concerns me.

It’s the refereeing.

READ MORE: Why Referee Mistakes Matter by Harry McMullen
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How was Curtis Jones’ slip on the ball a red card? Where should his foot have gone? It wasn’t aimed at the other player. His studs were not actually showing, until his ankle got thrown up by the ball causing his foot to go up and onto that shin. There was no intent, no malice, and let me tell you, if either of those were present on that kind of tackle, Bissouma wouldn’t have been able to continue playing. The ref, in point of fact, saw it correctly when he awarded Jones a yellow. But that wasn’t good enough for Darren England and Howard Webb on VAR.

Oh no.

They insisted Simon Hooper come to the screen, and greeted him with the still image of that final foot into the shin. Of course, he changed it to red. Anyone would. So I’ll say it: that’s a clear and intentional manipulation of the outcome by the VAR crew.

They weren’t done. Not by a long shot. 

For his goal, Diaz looked onside by every camera angle any TV camera could produce. I am again not going to lay blame at the linesman, because this sort of call is exactly why VAR came into being in the first place. Now let me ask you: when have you last seen VAR “check” a (and I’m being charitable) close offside call in less than ten seconds? Let me ask more bluntly: are you willing to believe they checked it at all? Or was that another indication that the outcome was predestined? I realize this sounds like a conspiracy theory, but when call after critical close call is decided by VAR in this particular fashion, you have to wonder. They weren’t even trying to hide it.

It looked intentional. It looked malicious.

Let’s also agree that Jota’s first yellow was a joke. His second was justified and a red was forthcoming at that point, and this sort of thing happens in football. Robbo’s yellow was every bit as ludicrous as Jota’s first, and a lovely exhibit of Hooper’s loss of control over the game on account of his VAR team. The Reds acquitted themselves well by holding on to the draw with nine men, until a truly unfortunate Matip, who otherwise had an excellent game, got undone by lady luck. This also happens in football.

What should never happen in football is a group of obviously biased video review referees determining the outcome for themselves. Where are their sanctions?

Oh, and yes, lovely goal by Gakpo, and a good move to give Spurs their original lead. Alisson is my man-of-the-match, and should by all rights be discussed as one of the greats ever, not just the best in the world today.

Perhaps the one good thing to come out of this ridiculous match is that it won’t hurt morale. Surely Klopp will use this to dial the anger up to 11. The players have every right to feel aggrieved. They were hauled in front of and found guilty in a kangaroo court by corrupt officials. If anything, this game, which Liverpool might have still won with nine men, should strike fear in the hearts of every other team.

The red tide is coming.

Two Week Notice American Scouser Podcast

Bickler and Timucin discuss the Villa game, take a look at the possible future, and Vegas
  1. Two Week Notice
  2. Having Fun Again
  3. The Turkish Rodeo
  4. Glimpse of Hope
  5. The Drought