Jürgen Klopp was left bewildered after a glaring error from the match officials denied his Liverpool team what would have been an opening goal in their eventual 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.
Liverpool finished with nine men after the dismissals of Curtis Jones and the substitute Diogo Jota, which ought to have been controversy enough. Yet the decision to rule out Luis Díaz’s effort in the 34th minute trumped even that.
Díaz looked onside when he ran through to finish only for a flag to go up. But rather than overrule the onfield decision, the VAR, Darren England, did not intervene, calling “check complete” because he had not noticed the goal had been disallowed. It prompted Professional Game Match Officials Limited to issue an embarrassing apology.
The referees’ body said in a statement: “The PGMOL acknowledge a significant human error occurred during the first half of Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool. The goal by Luis Díaz was disallowed for offside by the onfield 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.”
Klopp said: “I don’t think there is anything to say about the offside goal – I knew about it at half-time. In the first moment I thought it was clearly onside but you think they have a better view. I am pretty sure whoever made the decision didn’t do it on purpose. It didn’t take extremely long to come to the conclusion. That’s a bit strange but someone else has to explain.
“The linesman thought it was worth watching again – that’s why he raised the flag. In the good old times, the linesman should have seen it was not offside because we had these situations quite frequently and when you see it back it is pretty clear.”
Jones was sent off for a heavy tackle on Yves Bissouma midway through the first half – a decision Klopp disputed. Spurs scored on 36 minutes through Son Heung-min, although Liverpool hit back in first-half stoppage-time through Cody Gakpo, who did not reappear for the second half. He left the stadium in a protective brace, Klopp suggesting the injury was serious.
Jota’s dismissal for two yellow cards – the second on 69 minutes – meant Liverpool have now had four red cards in the Premier League. Spurs won in the final minute of stoppage-time thanks to a Joël Matip own goal.
Klopp said: “Probably everyone in the room sees it as a red card for Curtis – I see it different. He put full power on the ball, rolls over it and then hits the leg [of Bissouma]. When you see it in slow motion, it looks horrendous. See it in real time and it’s not even close to be that bad. Jota’s first yellow card is clearly not a yellow card. The killer of the game was the second red card and a lot of other decisions.”