VAR’s offside armpit call on Roberto Firmino raises a stink
The passionate debate over video assistant referee (VAR) reviews in the English Premier League took a surreal turn last Saturday when Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino's armpit was ruled offside.
Firmino's 28th-minute shot would have been an equaliser for Liverpool, who were trailing 1-0 to Aston Villa at the time, but a linesman ruled him offside and VAR confirmed the call, reported Reuters.
"The red line signifies Firmino was aligned to his armpit, which was marginally ahead of the last Villa defender," the EPL tweeted by way of explanation above a photo with a line perpendicular to the ground going into the Brazilian's armpit.
Liverpool might have been furious at the ruling - had they not scored two late goals to snatch a 2-1 victory.
"You what? His armpit?" said Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp when told of the EPL's explanation for ruling out Firmino's strike.
"We won 2-1, so it's now not that serious. But we are talking about serious moments, it's not right that we are sitting here talking about it and everybody wants to laugh.
"There's nothing to laugh about, to be honest. A manager can get sacked for losing football games."
Villa manager Dean Smith said he thought Firmino was hard done by. He said: "They've had the disallowed goal in the first half which I thought was a goal... We've had gnat's hair goals ruled against us ourselves (in past games)."
Former England striker Gary Lineker, too, was critical of the call.
He tweeted: "Firmino has had a goal disallowed for offside.
"He wasn't offside but VAR decided he was offside. When it comes to VAR, I'm now offside."
Fellow ex-England striker Robbie Fowler, meanwhile, chose to single out Martin Atkinson rather than the VAR system.
He tweeted: "Ridiculous... then seen Martin Atkinson was VAR ref, then all made sense."
Reds fans were incensed when Atkinson waved play on after Divock Origi appeared to be fouled during the build-up to Manchester United's goal in a 1-1 draw last month.