The former referee believes VAR took into account a previous handball by Bernardo Silva. Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has agreed with the VAR call that allowed Liverpool’s opening goal against Manchester City to stand, but says the Premier League explanation was incorrect.
The Reds took the lead through Fabinho’s sixth-minute strike, but VAR was forced to look into a potential handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the build up. Despite the ball striking the Liverpool defender’s arm, the goal stood, much to the anger of the City players and coaching staff.
And Clattenburg has agreed with the decision, but believes the reasoning behind it by the Premier League was flawed. The former official argued that a handball from City’s Bernardo Silva was the correct reason why the goal stood, as opposed to the Premier League explanation that Alexander-Arnold’s was not a deliberate handball.
“VAR and Michael Oliver made the correct call in allowing Fabinho’s early goal to stand, although I disagree with the reasoning the Premier League have provided,” Clattenburg told the MailOnline.
“There were strong suggestions at the time that the effort should be disallowed and a penalty awarded to Manchester City because Trent Alexander-Arnold had handled at the other end moments before the goal.
“However, it is the arm of Manchester City forward Bernardo Silva that deflects the ball onto Alexander-Arnold and that is why, for me, play should not be brought back.
“If Silva’s arm does not divert the ball, then yes, I believe a penalty should have been awarded as Alexander-Arnold’s arm is in an unnatural position and he is using it to make himself bigger.
“That is why I do not understand the Premier League explanation that it was not a deliberate handball.”
City boss Pep Guardiola was seen firmly shaking referee Michael Oliver’s hand and repeating the words, “thank you so much”, in a sarcastic tone after the match, but refused to be drawn into any debate surrounding VAR. The defeat leaves City in fourth place going into another international break, nine points behind league leaders Liverpool.
The loss at Anfield also condemned Guardiola to his worst start to a season in his entire managerial career, with City’s total of 25 points the fewest the Spaniard has won after 12 games into a campaign.