A controversial Sadio Mane goal was enough for Premier League leaders Liverpool to secure a nervy 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday and open up a 13-point cushion over their nearest challengers.
Mane, in his 150th game for the club, netted three minutes before the break only for Adam Lallana to be penalised for handball in the build-up.
However, a lengthy VAR review deemed the ball hit the midfielder’s shoulder and the goal stood.
Liverpool, sporting gold World Champions badges on their shirts after their Club World Cup triumph, were rarely at their brilliant best but showed once again that they appear to have the mettle to claim a first domestic league title in 30 years.
Referee Anthony Taylor had blown for handball as Lallana brought down Virgil van Dijk’s long ball before Mane swept in a half-volley. A lengthy VAR stoppage ensued before the decision was overturned much to the fury of the Wolves players and bench.
The visitors were then left seething when they were denied an immediate riposte after Pedro Neto’s effort was disallowed – again following a VAR review – following the most marginal of offside decisions against Jonny Otto.
Wolves captain Conor Coady, who came through the Liverpool Academy, called for better communication between the authorities, officials and players, as the VAR technology is implemented in England’s top flight.
“We feel massively hard done by. I can’t get my head around it. It’s ridiculous,” Coady told Sky Sports. “For me it [VAR] is not working. Some people are saying it gets the right decision but we’re the players on the pitch and it doesn’t feel right to me.
“Anthony Taylor is a great fellow to speak to, but I ask a question and I don’t get an answer.”