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.
Liverpool were denied a penalty by referee Chris Kavanagh during the match at Anfield on December 23.
However, a VAR review into the incident confirmed Kavanagh’s on-field decision.
The audio from the decision shows Kavanagh saying: “No, his handâ€™s on the floor. His handâ€™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 Iâ€™ve seen, yeah, agreed, yeah, yeah.”
VAR David Coote then confirms the decision, explaining: “For me, Lee, I’m back with live. So, heâ€™s falling down, heâ€™s moving his arms in towards him, so itâ€™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.
“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.Â
“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 Fulhamâ€™s Raul Jimenez at Newcastle and penalty awarded – also on review – for Tottenhamâ€™s Dejan Kulusevskiâ€™s â€śsustainedâ€ť tug on Brighton striker Danny Welbeck, were correct interventions.
But more surprisingly perhaps, the former World Cup final whistler said VAR Michael Salisbury was justified in allowing Lutonâ€™s last-gasp leveller at Turf Moor to stand.
But ref Tony Harringtonâ€™s initial view that Trafford has instigated the contact was eventually backed by Salisburyâ€™s belief it was â€śnot a clear and obvious errorâ€ť.
Webb said: â€śI can understand why Burnley would expect a free-kick but Iâ€™ve spoken to a whole host of people who donâ€™t see it that way.
â€śVAR 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.â€ť