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Lopetegui says Wolves can prove disallowed goal at Liverpool should’ve stood with Klopp agreeing

Julen Lopetegui says Wolves can prove the controversial disallowed goal at Liverpool should’ve stood with Jurgen Klopp agreeing with sympathy.

Liverpool survived a late scare, but many feel that they shouldn’t be facing an FA Cup replay against Wolves, with a VAR call – labelled as “impossible” by Julen Lopetegui – denied Toti a late win in a topsy-turvy draw at Anfield.

Toti backheeled Hwang’s low effort into the net on the 82th minute to spark wild celebrations for those in the away end. However, VAR upheld a flagged offside in a build-up – even though ITV reported that Mike Dean didn’t have a camera angle for the alleged offence.

“We sat in the studio trying to figure out, so are the crowd and the bench,” said former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey on ITV.

Eni Aluko added: “State-of-the-art stadiums – just show it in on the screen. The clarity needs to be there.

“It is offside, Nunes was in an offside position, but that wasn’t initially clear. Now we have the decision but it has to be clearer.”

Stephen Warnock told BBC Match of the Day: “It is very frustrating. The laws of the game say the goal should stand but football fans know it should not stand. Toti has to deal with it because he has to believe Salah is offside. The law is wrong in our opinion.”

Lopetegui said: “The offside that we had – we have seen it, the offside doesn’t exist, I’m sorry – it’s impossible. Someone has told him [the referee] it’s offside but we’ve seen the images, it doesn’t exist. The decision is wrong. I make mistakes every day, and sometimes they do too. It is a pity, because I’m sorry, it’s not offside.”

When asked why he was so sure, Lopetegui adds: “Our tactical camera. At the time I have seen the replay and it was better in the dressing room.”

Lopetegui to ITV about visiting the referee’s room after full-time: “It was only to talk about the two goals. We have seen the offside for our goal, and it doesn’t exist. It’s impossible, but someone has told [the referee] it is offside. We have seen the image, and it doesn’t exist.

“The second goal from Liverpool is the same. It’s the same rule. We have talked a lot with referees about this kind of situation, one player taking advantage of his position before Toti touched the ball. Of course, Toti reacts to the position of [Salah].

“The referee was very polite, he helped us but now it’s happened and we have to accept it. It’s a pity because we deserved to win against a fantastic team like Liverpool, we have to recover and go again in four days against Nottingham Forest.”

Mo Salah got Liverpool’s second goal on the 52nd minute after Darwin Nunez levelled on the verge of half-time.

However Salah was deemed by some as being offside when Cody Gapko crossed the ball – but because Toti headed it, so the Egyptian was adjudged to have been in play.

On Salah’s goal, Lopetegui said: ”It is the same in all the leagues. My opinion is we have to talk a lot with the referees about this sort of situation. Mohamed Salah was offside before Toti touched the ball, so he got an advantage. Toti, of course, is only going for it because of the offside player.

“The referee heard us and was very polite but it has happened now. We have to accept it. It is a pity because we deserved to win against a fantastic team like Liverpool.”

After the game, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on the ruled out Wolves goal: “I don’t really know. On the pitch I couldn’t see it, so I had no idea. For me, I thought it’s a goal. It was the player in the left corner who might have been offside. We have one angle, which I saw in the dressing room, where it could be offside but I would not swear on it, or however you say that, but it could be.

“But I think this angle the VAR didn’t have, if I’m right, that’s what I heard. I don’t know how these things can happen, but it happened. So, I understand the frustration of Wolves because you want to have the right decision in these moments, like we wanted the right decision back then.”

On the result and performance of his side…

[It was a] good start in the game, dominant, played well, tried to create, had half-chances, good moments. Twenty, 25 minutes around about – I don’t know exactly when they scored – before they scored they had maybe one counter-attack and then they had this scrappy situation where it was not 100 per cent clear around the goal. We win the ball there and then Ali kicks the ball in their feet and then we are 1-0 down. 

You could see the impact on the game; they got more confident. We played kind of OK, not really convincing that you thought, ‘OK, it will happen immediately.’ The goal we scored was outstanding, outstanding, and we had a few really good balls we played, a few good situations where we played in their formation. But for the whole game I thought we didn’t win enough challenges, to be honest. There are a lot of situations where I thought they win a challenge and all of sudden we are completely open; we had two or three players in the challenge moving to the ball and when you are there, fine, you have to win the ball. If you don’t do that and they can get out then it looks like, ‘Where are they?’ 

So, they constantly stayed in the game because of that, but we anyway went 2-1 up. It was not an open game, but nothing really happened a lot, but we still kept not winning these challenges, like around the second goal when I think we were in possession and had the ball, gave the ball away and then they go in our box without a real challenge. That’s difficult. The ball comes in and it’s difficult. It was unlucky, Ibou is there but it hits Hwang and then the ball rolls over the line. Unlucky, 2-2 and that was the result.

What do the rules say?

Both incidents centre around when a new phase of play starts, and what is a deliberate action.

According to Law 11 in the FA’s rules: “A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage, unless it was a deliberate save by any opponent.

“A ‘save’ is when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area).”

The assistant ref thinks Nunes was offside when Hwang headed the ball – which started a new phase of play – and VAR had no clear evidence to overturn that decision.

Salah’s goal wasn’t ruled out as a result of Toti’s header, which started a new phase of play.

Here’s the fan reaction as Lopetegui says Wolves can prove the disallowed goal at Liverpool should’ve stood with Klopp agreeing…

@Wolfenblack: I’ve watched this back, even when Toti has scored and is running in celebration the linesman still hadn’t raised his flag. It’s not until the referee makes a gesture to him that it goes up. It just stinks of corruption #wwfc

@NeilWillner: If Nunes is supposed to be the offside player ( even though camera angles available on twitter show he wasn’t) why did the assistant referee only flag after instruction from the referee after the goal was scored a few seconds later?

@BH_Design: Basically if the defender heads that away, the linesman would of put his flag up for offside. So what’s the difference. Is the defender supposed to leave the ball and hope he’s offside. What a farce.

@carassjoe: Pure match fixing that is.

@fandangogroover: I really hate defending a local rival, but the more I watch that game, the more I think Wolves won that game 3-1. If we are going to use VAR it has to be foolproof and beyond reproach, it clearly isn’t.

@wolvesvsp: Fuming. What do you think of it? 🤬

@PHJ_MGF: Even as a Liverpool fan, I have no idea how the officials saw fit for us to still be in the competition, with their decisions in this game.

@MrChrisCobbold: The other way around, that’s given. Salah goal the other way around, not given.

@Cameron__29: Disgraceful officiating. That’s a fix.

@jakerriley: @FA_PGMOL You’re useless. You’re biased. You’re incompetent. There’s no point having VAR if you can’t use all angles to try and identify a goal or not. You have evidently clutched at straws to protect your precious liverpool.

@GavinMawn: Scandalous but not surprised. Other end and VAR are out for lunch.

@JohnMalt1: Why is VAR being used in only FA Cup games played at stadiums equipped to use it? Surely in the interest of fairness & a consistent approach to all games throughout the competition, it should not be used at all?

@NatalieeDyer: On what planet is this offside??

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