Virgil van Dijk gets away with one! Why VAR denied Chelsea a penalty against Liverpool despite the Reds’ captain seeming to trip Conor Gallagher – explained.
The Reds had a strong start to Jurgen Klopp’s first home league encounter since his stunning exit announcement, but Chelsea got a shot on goal when Gallagher was sent in by Raheem Sterling. The Blues midfielder was brought down by Van Dijk, but Paul Tierney did not give a penalty, and the VAR did not reverse the call either.
Gallagher fell after his right leg looked to make contact with Van Dijk’s right knee. However, the Chelsea player was falling slightly before the Dutchman made contact, and referee Tierney did not consider it sufficient contact to award the penalty. Tierney’s original decision stood since it was not deemed to be an error by John Brooks, who acted as VAR.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
The chance was a rare sight of goal for Mauricio Pochettino’s team, which battled from the start at a noisy Anfield. Liverpool’s aggressive midfield dominated Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez, and Ben Chilwell was frequently reckless in possession, but the home side’s pressure paid off as Diogo Jota opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. The Portuguese grabbed onto Conor Bradley’s ball before slaloming between Chelsea’s mediocre centre-backs and slotting past Djordje Petrovic.
Bradley then scored his first Liverpool goal with a stunning finish, putting Klopp’s side ahead before halftime.