Former Premier League referee says one big decision was wrong in Liverpool v Spurs game
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey believes referee Jonathan Moss and his assistant Eddie Smart got one key decision wrong in the contentious 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Tottenham on Sunday.
In a column for Yahoo Sport, Halsey suggested BOTH penalties handed to Tottenham in the closing stages of the game were correctly awarded, yet the high experience ex-Premier League whistle blower believes a key mistake was made in the build-up to the first of those decisions.
"Jonathan Moss and his officials were right to award Tottenham two late penalties against Liverpool on Sunday, but I believe they got one big decision wrong at Anfield," declared Halsey.
"Harry Kane was in an off-side position when Dele Alli played the ball through to him and despite the failed attempt of Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren to clear the ball, the Spurs forward should was still off-side when the ball came through to him.
"Why did they get that decision wrong? There were a couple of factors involved in the final decision, but Lovren’s thought process was clearly affected by the presence of Kane behind him and thus, the Spurs striker becomes active was interfering with play and the opponent.
"Only a deliberate attempt by a defender to play the ball would have been enough to allow Kane to be on side in that incident and while Lovren made that effort with his clearance, he only did so because of the presence of the Tottenham striker behind him.
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"You can hear from the discussion between the referee and his assistant that was picked up on TV cameras that they were uncertain about the off-side call and if that uncertainty is there over Lovren’s role in the incident, then they should have given the off-side.
"Overall, it was a difficult decision to make and while I think Kane should have been adjudged to be off-side, the law is an ass in that situation and we need clarification form the International Football Association Board (The IFAB) as there is clearly a degree of confusion there."
Halsey also offered plaudits to Moss and his officiating team for the correct decisions they made amid a heated atmosphere at Anfield.
"To their credit, the officials at Anfield got two difficult calls right as the challenge on Kane in the box by Liverpool keeper Loris Karius and the second penalty decision made by assistant official Eddie Smart were spot on in my view," he added.
"What a brave and outstanding decision that was by the assistant official to halt the game in the 94th minute at The Kop end and inform the referee that he needed to award a penalty for Virgil van Dijk’s challenge on Erik Lamela.
"It was a clear penalty and referee Moss bottled it for whatever reason. Maybe he had lost some of his focus by then after what had gone before with the first penalty incident, so to make that call and get it spot on was an outstanding piece of officiating by Smart.
"Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not agree with the decisions and that may be because he didn’t fully appreciate why they had been made, but I would suggest that he only has one area to feel aggrieved about and that is the off-side call on Kane."