Liverpool boss Klopp was ‘100 per cent sure’ VAR would disallow Rashford’s goal
Adam Lallana earned the Reds a late point at Old Trafford.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is a fan of VAR but believes the process is failing referees and therefore the teams involved.
The Reds boss said he was so surprised the review did not rule out Manchester United’s first-half goal from Marcus Rashford for an earlier foul on Divock Origi that he could not even be angry.
Adam Lallana eventually scored five minutes from time in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford but Klopp was still bemused by the advice given to official Martin Atkinson.
“I calmed everyone down because I knew immediately. They scored the goal and Mr Atkinson immediately signalled VAR,” he said.
“My coaches were already on their toes but I was 100 per cent sure VAR would overrule it but then we have the problem.
“The ref let the game run because he has VAR but then VAR says it was not clear, so he could say it was not a foul so don’t overrule it.
“This does not make sense. It is a clear VAR issue with how we deal with it in the moment.
“I was so surprised afterwards, I couldn’t be angry.”
Klopp echoed a criticism which has been aired many times already this season in that the high bar which the Premier League has set means no-one at VAR headquarters is prepared to overrule match officials and say they got big decisions wrong.
“I’m sure Mr Atkinson, if there was not VAR involved, would have whistled (for a foul) but he let it go because someone else could make the decision but someone else is not making the decision,” added the German, who also saw a Sadio Mane goal ruled out for handball by VAR which he had no issue with.
“Like the penalty Man City didn’t get (on Saturday)… Come on, it was 100 per cent penalty, nothing else, but VAR was not clear enough to say ‘overrule it’.
“We need to discuss it in general, how the process works is important. I think it is good, VAR. The only way it really works is handball and offside.
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“But the process where the ref makes a decision because they have VAR but then VAR says ‘No, that’s fine’, that doesn’t work.
“On the pitch the referee decides to let it run because we have VAR, but it is not overruled because it is not ‘obvious’, that makes no sense.”
The draw ended Liverpool’s hopes of equalling Manchester City’s Premier League record of 18 successive victories as United became the first side to take a point off Klopp’s side since early March.
It was a much-needed fillip for United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, who has been coming under increased scrutiny after the club’s worst start to a domestic campaign for 30 years.
The Norwegian dismissed Klopp’s VAR complaints, insisting there was “no chance” Rashford’s effort should have been ruled out and saying: “We’re not playing basketball. He (Lindelof) touched him but it’s not a clear and obvious error.”
But he understandably focused on an improved performance from his side.
“I’m disappointed on behalf of players for the effort they put in and the fans deserve more than one point,” he said.
“Towards the end of the game it feels worse as well as they put us under pressure but they didn’t create too many chances. We soaked up pressure really well, but a lack of concentration and it’s a goal.
“We’re better when we attack quickly, no dilly-dallying. It doesn’t have to be a counter-attack – take more risks, be braver, you can win it back up the field.
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“It’s the right type of football and being more direct helped us.
“Many times we felt we haven’t got the results we deserved, but we need to win games. One point is a start, but we’re still disappointed and not excited by getting a point off good teams.”
Solskjaer also had praise for his goalscorer.
“It’s his best game maybe in his 10 months for me,” he added. “He runs off shoulders, chases, defends well, got hold of the ball, had a nice little race with Virgil Van Dijk.
“You could see he is growing and getting stronger.”