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Audio of Martin Odegaard’s handball against Liverpool is released as Howard Webb reveals referee got decision WRONG

HOWARD WEBB has revealed Liverpool SHOULD have been awarded a penalty in their 1-1 draw with Arsenal last month.

The former Premier League referee gave his thought on the incident after releasing the VAR audio in the latest instalment of Match Officials Mic’d Up.

VAR audio from Martin Odegaard's handball against Liverpool has been released

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VAR audio from Martin Odegaard’s handball against Liverpool has been releasedCredit: Premier League

Liverpool were denied a penalty by referee Chris Kavanagh during the match at Anfield on December 23.

Mohamed Salah had attempted to flick the ball round Martin Odegaard when the ball hit the Arsenal captain’s arm.

However, a VAR review into the incident confirmed Kavanagh’s on-field decision.

The audio from the decision shows Kavanagh saying: “No, his hand’s on the floor. His hand’s on the floor,” as the Liverpool players appealed for penalty.

Assistant VAR Lee Betts can then be heard during the review saying: “Yeah, from the brief look I’ve seen, yeah, agreed, yeah, yeah.”

VAR David Coote then confirms the decision, explaining: “For me, Lee, I’m back with live. So, he’s falling down, he’s moving his arms in towards him, so it’s check complete for me.”

Webb and former Liverpool striker Michael Owen disagreed with that analysis on Match Officials Mic’d Up, though.

Ex-Red Owen admitted: “I thought it was a penalty,” before Webb explained his views on the decision.

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“So do I,” the PGMOL chief responded. “The referee on the field recognised that Odegaard had slipped and saw his arm go towards the ground.

“We talk about ‘supporting arms’. If somebody falls, breaks their fall with the arm, it’s all very natural and a pretty well-established concept. In this situation. though, there’s an important difference to a normal play that’s falling.

“This is not just Odegaard accidentally falling on to the ball. He does slip, his arm does go out, but he actually pulls his arm back in towards his body, which is when the ball makes contact with the arm.

“The VAR looked at that aspect. He felt it was a case of Odegaard trying to make himself actually smaller by bringing the arm back towards the body. That is the element that’s important here.

“Whether it’s instinctive or deliberate, he gets a huge advantage by bringing the arm back towards the ball. All the feedback we got afterwards was very clear. The game expects a penalty in this situation. I would agree.”

Webb argued that the red card for Fulham’s Raul Jimenez at Newcastle and penalty awarded – also on review – for Tottenham’s Dejan Kulusevski’s “sustained” tug on Brighton striker Danny Welbeck, were correct interventions.

Howard Webb revealed referee Chris Kavanagh should have given a penalty

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Howard Webb revealed referee Chris Kavanagh should have given a penaltyCredit: Premier League

He also backed Manchester City’s crucial penalty in the win at Everton, where the Toffees argued Amadou Onana was too close to the Nathan Ake shot to be penalised.

But more surprisingly perhaps, the former World Cup final whistler said VAR Michael Salisbury was justified in allowing Luton’s last-gasp leveller at Turf Moor to stand.

Burnley were furious, convinced that Elijah Adebayo had fouled keeper James Trafford before Carlton Morris headed home.

But ref Tony Harrington’s initial view that Trafford has instigated the contact was eventually backed by Salisbury’s belief it was “not a clear and obvious error”.

Webb said: “I can understand why Burnley would expect a free-kick but I’ve spoken to a whole host of people who don’t see it that way.

“VAR was brought in to rectify very clear situations. This was a grey one, not black and white. It split opinions so the VAR came out in the right place.”

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