Manchester City were 2-0 down to Liverpool after just 15 minutes at Anfield but the game was not without controversy.
Liverpool opened the scoring through Fabinho’s strike from the edge of the area but the goal was checked by VAR amid a shout for handball at the other end of the pitch. The ball appeared to hit Trent Alexander-Arnold’s hand in the build-up which would have resulted in a Man City penalty but the referee and VAR both disagreed. Here’s what the Premier League say about the rules around handball in the Premier League this season amid the Man City controversy.
What are the new rules?
There are a number of significant changes to the handball rule.
Firstly, if a player scores with the use of a hand, both accidental and intentional, it will be disallowed.
The biggest change related to intent. Handballs no longer needs to be intentional for it to be given.
It’s all about the positioning of the arm or hand.
If the arm or hand makes the body ‘unnaturally bigger’, it is handball.
The rules say that an arm or hand above the shoulder can ‘rarely be a natural position’. Having the arm or hand in that position is considered a risk on the part of the player.
Of course, if the arm or hand is away from the body, it will be considered to be making the body ‘unnaturally bigger’ and a handball will be given.
The only exception is when a player puts their hand on the floor to support themselves when making a sliding challenge or falling. If the ball hits an arm or hand in that situation, it won’t be given as handball.
Do deflections differ?
Players will be ‘given extra leeway’ when the ball deflects off an arm or hand.
If the ball deflects off an opponent or teammate and it’s deemed impossible for the player to move their arm or hand in time, a handball won’t be given.
That’s also the case if the ball comes quickly from a body part of their own.
For example, should they accidentally mis-head the ball onto their own arm, handball won’t be given.