April 18, 2024

It was a tremendously heated affair at Anfield.
Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has spoken out about the penalty awarded to Liverpool late in the Magpies’ 4-2 loss at Anfield.

As Liverpool defeated Newcastle, there was a VAR controversy.
The Magpies were severely defeated at Anfield on Monday evening, as Liverpool moved three points clear of Aston Villa atop the Premier League table. Mohamed Salah missed a penalty in the first half before redeeming himself after the break and giving Liverpool the lead. Alexander Isak equalized coolly, and Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo made it 3-1 before Sven Botman’s header gave Newcastle hope.
The game’s most controversial moment occurred late in the day, however, as Dubravka was ruled to have fouled Diogo Jota, who fell down a step and a half after the challenge, prior to Anthony Taylor pointing to the penalty spot. Salah then did the rest, sealing the victory for Jurgen Klopp’s team.

It’s a situation that has divided fans and commentators alike, with some believing there was still enough contact to warrant the penalty, while others believe Jota dived due to the delay in coming down. It shifted the spotlight back to VAR, who elected to remain with Taylor’s on-pitch decision.


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Dubravka responds to Jota’s punishment.
Dubravka discusses the Jota penalty incident following the game [via The Boot Room].

“It’s frustrating because he’s a smart guy.” I attempted to keep my arms [away] from him. I felt contact, but I’m not sure what else I should do to avoid trying to capture him. It was ultimately a penalty.
“There’s no point arguing with them,” he added, before saying six words about VAR and confessing, “I don’t know what to say.”
This is just the latest example of VAR dominating the post-game debate after a huge game, which has tragically occurred far too frequently this season. In the past, in-depth analysis of a thrilling contest like the one that transpired at Anfield on Monday night would be common, but that is now becoming all too rare.

In terms of the penalty judgment, there will always be club prejudice, with Liverpool fans no likely ready to point out that Dubravka has still acknowledged to contact and that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn Taylor’s ruling.

Newcastle fans, on the other hand, have a reason to be irritated by the way Jota went down, especially when he was inexplicably on the point of tapping the ball home, and the Portuguese won’t have helped his image for going down too readily.
The issue is that, despite the fact that VAR was designed to eliminate subjectivity, it is enraging supporters much more than when it was not in use. It’s not going away anytime soon, but there’s a case to be made that football was better before it arrived.

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