Critics of VAR suggested that it would disrupt the flow of the game. They were proved right on Saturday night at Anfield. Liverpool lost 3-2 in the 4th round of the FA Cup to West Brom, but the headlines weren't really about the shock result. West Brom had a goal chalked off for offside via VAR. Then, two minutes later, the referee gave Liverpool a penalty, also thanks to VAR.
Instead of being 3-1 behind they should have been back level at 2-2, but Firmino missed the spot kick. While both decisions were correct, it took over 4 minutes to award the penalty. That is just far too long for fans and players to wait. VAR is undoubtedly a welcome development, but there are still some issues that need ironing out.
West Brom Value For Win
Although it was a nervy final few minutes after Mo Salah reduced the deficit to 3-2, West Brom deserved to win. Despite the gift of an early goal Liverpool lacked fluency, and they struggled to break a well organised Baggies' defence down. Afterwards Pardew was clearly delighted with the win, but he wasn't so happy about the VAR incidents. He said:
“It’s hard to know where to start. I don’t think that is what you would want to see going forward. There is no communication from the referee to us. He reverses the Dawson goal, which would never had been disallowed in any league game, for offside. That was a bit of a surprise. It is really marginal.”
Pardew Blames VAR For Kanu Injury
Not only was Pardew unimpressed with the time taken to make decisions via VAR, he also blamed it for Kanu's hamstring injury. He moaned: “The bigger one, it was four minutes, five minutes for the Salah one so you are going from high tempo to nothing.”
“We had a hamstring [injury] just after so we are going to have to get our players to do a warm-up or keep them ticking over.” There were always likely to be some teething problems with VAR, but at the end of the day the correct calls were made. That can only be a good thing for the sport and this VAR insanity could be here to stay.