Liverpool pair voice frustrations with handball law and VAR after Etihad draw

Joe Gomez (right) appeals to referee Craig Pawson after his handball resulted in a penalty for Manchester City
Joe Gomez (right) appeals to referee Craig Pawson after his handball resulted in a penalty for Manchester City (PA Wire)
21:11pm, Sun 08 Nov 2020
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Liverpool defender Joe Gomez voiced his exasperation with the handball law after conceding a penalty in the champions’ 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Sunday.

The England international was adjudged to have handled a Kevin De Bruyne cross shortly before half-time at the Etihad Stadium when referee Craig Pawson checked the pitchside monitor.

Gomez appeared to be trying to get his arm out of the way when the ball struck him but the VAR process was not in his favour.

Fortunately for him it was not costly as De Bruyne put the resulting spot-kick wide.

Gomez told Sky Sports: “I think then it’s frustrating when the referee goes to look in slow motion when something has happened in real time and De Bruyne hit the ball as hard as he has.

“It just hit my hand. I don’t think there was much I could do about it. He’s hit the ball that hard and that is that.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not comment on the specific incident but admitted his frustration with the VAR system.

Klopp said: “I cannot speak about it because I didn’t see it yet. I don’t think it’s now too important but everybody is talking about it.

“It looked and it sounds to me that it’s obviously not 100 per cent clear but I saw only Joe’s back in that moment when the ball hit him.

“But, yes, handball, offside, armpit – all these kind of things. I don’t know why we constantly talk about it and not the people who can really make a difference talk about it much more.

“They might do it and are the only people in the world who think it’s exactly right like it is, and only us are the ones who think it’s not right like it is.

“I saw yesterday the (Patrick) Bamford armpit and it reminded me a lot of the Bobby Firmino armpit at Aston Villa (last season). I can’t wait for the first time a player scores a goal with the armpit.”

Klopp praised the quality of Liverpool and City. The visitors had taken an early lead with a Mohamed Salah penalty but Gabriel Jesus levelled with a superb turn and finish.

Both sides had chances to win but De Bruyne spurned the best of them from the spot shortly before half-time.

Klopp said: “Usually when we play City we sit here in the press conference and I have to say, ‘Yes, here we were slightly lucky, here Ali had to make a world-class save.’

“They usually have more clear-cut chances, today they hadn’t and that’s a compliment to my boys.

“I loved the energy level of both teams. It was a proper, proper fight on the highest level. That means you deny the opponent, with the quality we have and the quality they have.

“I’m really happy with the result and the performance.”

Liverpool lost Trent Alexander-Arnold to a calf injury in the second half and the right-back will now miss England’s upcoming internationals.

Klopp said: Trent will be out for England, that is clear. What he has, we don’t know, but he cannot play for England.

“He will have a scan Monday and then we will see.”

City manager Pep Guardiola also declared himself happy with the result and his side’s start to the season.

Guardiola said: “I am maybe happier than ever. In 12 games, we lost one in all competitions.

“But we have conceded three penalties and today we concede one because we didn’t learn. Hopefully this is the last time we give the opponents a penalty like this.”

Guardiola was also pleased to have Jesus back in action after injury.

He said: “He was really good. I didn’t expect he could sustain 90 minutes but he did. His physicality is so strong and his rhythm. He helped us and he scored a fantastic goal.”

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