Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was notably frustrated with the officiating during his side's 2-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, especially as it pertained to the communication error that resulted in Luis Diaz's goal wrongly being called back.
Diaz's strike in the 25th minute was surprisingly ruled as offside and was the first of many things that went wrong for Liverpool despite an encouraging performance. Curtis Jones was sent off a minute later, and then Tottenham scored in the 36th minute through Son Heung-min. Cody Gakpo's equalizer right before the half provided some optimism, but Diogo Jota picked up two yellows in as many minutes in the second half and Joel Matip scored a last-gasp own goal to secure a win for the hosts.
Golazo Starting XI Newsletter
Get your Soccer Fix from Around the Globe
Your ultimate guide to the Beautiful Game as our experts take you beyond the pitch and around the globe with news that matters.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
PGMOL, England's refereeing body, initially described the call on Diaz's goal as the result of a "significant human error" and said the strike should have stood. Klopp seemed not to appreciate the statement and was exasperated by the whole situation when he spoke in his post-match press conference.
"Who does that help now? We won't get points for it, it won't help," he said, per The Athletic. "Nobody expects 100 % right decisions but we thought when VAR came in it might make things easier. The decision was made really quick and it changed the momentum of the game. A similar situation occurred this season, between Wolves and Manchester United. Did Wolves get the points? It doesn't matter."
The "significant human error" PGMOL mentioned was not made public before the press conference wrapped up but was reportedly an incredibly bizarre miscommunication between the on-field referees and the VAR officials.
VAR official Darren England was told to check the on-field decision, and he quickly deemed the check complete believing his pitchside counterpart ruled that Diaz's strike was a goal, per ESPN. The on-field decision, though, was that Diaz was offside and so England incorrectly confirmed the wrong call and so the decision stood.
Don't miss CBS Sports Golazo Network's Morning Footy, now in podcast form! Our crew brings you all the news, views, highlights and laughs you need to follow the Beautiful Game in every corner of the globe, every Monday-Friday all year long
In the fallout from the error, The Times reported that England and other members of the refereeing group at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday were in the United Arab Emirates days earlier. England reportedly served as the VAR for a UAE Pro League match between Sharjah and Al Ain last Thursday, while his VAR partner on Saturday, Dan Cook, was the assistant referee on Thursday. Michael Oliver was also part of both matches but served as the fourth official in London.
The freelance refereeing opportunity was reportedly sanctioned by the PGMOL, and they arrived back in the U.K. on Friday.
The situation raises questions about refereeing workload and fatigue, which could be to blame for the bizarre officiating mistake in London on Saturday. The mishap is the latest on a long list of refereeing errors that seem to plague the Premier League and will no doubt increase pressure on the PGMOL to find solutions to officiating issues that have only been magnified since the introduction of VAR.
Liverpool continued to express their disappointment through a statement issued on Sunday, denouncing both the controversial decision and the PGMOL's response.
"We fully accept the pressures that match officials work under but these pressures are supposed to be alleviated, not exacerbated, by the existence and implementation of VAR," the statement read in part. "It is therefore unsatisfactory that sufficient time was not afforded to allow the correct decision to be made and that there was no subsequent intervention. That such failings have already been categorized as 'significant human error' is also unacceptable. Any and all outcomes should be established only by the review and with full transparency."
The club also added that they will "explore the range of options available, given the clear need for escalation and resolution," but gave no specifics on what that course of action could look like.