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Liverpool, Sheffield United feel hard done by over VAR

Liverpool, Sheffield United feel hard done by over VAR
© Reuters
Sheffield United and Liverpool felt decisions went against them.

VAR enjoyed a relatively quiet return from the Premier League’s international break, though there was still a disallowed goal and criticism over a penalty not given.

Here, the PA news agency looks back over the weekend’s talking points.

Blades suffer replay woe

Sheffield United thought they had taken the lead against Southampton shortly after half-time when Oli McBurnie finished off Oliver Norwood’s free-kick. Replays, though, showed John Egan was offside and he was adjudged to be affecting goalkeeper Angus Gunn. Blades boss Chris Wilder said afterwards he had “no issue” with that decision – nor with striker Billy Sharp’s late dismissal – but insisted his side should have had a penalty for handball by James Ward-Prowse (referee Lee Mason checked with VAR, then awarded a corner). Moussa Djenepo’s goal earned Saints a 1-0 win.

Klopp claims penalty

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp was baffled by the decision not to award Liverpool a penalty (Nigel French/PA)

It did not ultimately affect the result but, even as Liverpool celebrated a 3-1 win over Newcastle, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp expressed bemusement that his side had not been awarded a first-half penalty while trailing 1-0 when Jamaal Lascelles appeared to haul Joel Matip down by the neck at a set-piece. Klopp said afterwards: “The fourth official told me they did (refer the incident to VAR). As long as you win then it’s not an issue. If we had lost 1-0 then we would speak differently about it but it is a penalty. We cannot fight like this for a ball. Joel Matip, there’s a wresting situation and he turns him in the air. In the past we didn’t need VAR to make this decision, so we shouldn’t have to use it now.”

Ceballos in the clear

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, celerates with Sead Kolasinac after his first goal against Watford
Arsenal’s celebrations continued as VAR found no foul in the build-up (Nick Potts/PA)

VAR was not needed to award Watford’s penalty in their 2-2 comeback draw with Arsenal, David Luiz clearly bringing down Roberto Pereyra, but it had to part to play in the Gunners’ opener. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang neatly finished on the turn from Sead Kolasinac’s through-ball but Watford questioned whether Will Hughes was fouled by Dani Ceballos earlier in the move. A quick check at Stockley Park showed no clear evidence of a foul, with Ceballos nicking the ball before the two players collided, and the first of Aubameyang’s two goals was duly confirmed.

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
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13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
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20Watford8035420-163

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