An unhappy Julen Lopetegui claimed Toti’s late goal that would have knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup should not have been ruled offside, with the Wolves manager claiming his “tactical camera” proved this and that VAR did not have the same angle so could not overrule the original decision.
The third round tie was level at 2-2 when Toti appeared to have scored an 80th-minute winner only for Matheus Nunes, who had taken the initial corner, to be adjudged offside when the ball was returned to him and he crossed. On review VAR retained the original decision due to apparently not having the same angle as Lopetegui viewed, which drew a furious reaction from the Spaniard, who had seen a replay instantly on his tactical camera while seated on the bench.
The Spaniard was booked but afterwards he went to see the officials to discuss the incident and the goal with which Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool 2-1 ahead. This was ruled legal because, while he was in an offside position when the ball was crossed, it was first headed by Toti, so when Salah scored he was no longer infringing.
Lopetegui remained unrepentant. “The offside that we had – we have seen it, the offside doesn’t exist, I’m sorry. It’s impossible. Someone has told him [the referee] it’s offside, but we’ve seen the images, it doesn’t exist. The decision is wrong. I make mistakes every day, and sometimes they do too. It is a pity, because I’m sorry, it’s not offside.”
Lopetegui was asked what made him so sure. “Our tactical camera – at the time I have seen the replay and it was [even] better in the dressing room,” he said.
Of Salah’s goal, Lopetegui said: “It is the same in all the leagues. My opinion is we have to talk a lot with the referees about this sort of situation. Mohamed Salah was offside before Toti touched the ball, so he got an advantage. Toti, of course, is only going for it because of the offside player.
“The referee heard us and was very polite, but it has happened now. We have to accept it. It is a pity because we deserved to win against a fantastic team like Liverpool.”
After the game, which finished 2-2, with Gonçalo Guedes, Darwin Núñez and Hwang Hee-chan joining Salah on the scoresheet,Klopp sympathised with his opposite number.
“We have one picture where it may look offside, but I can understand why they are angry about it.” said Liverpool’s manager. “We don’t want the VAR to just have one angle.”