However, the same cannot be said for Liverpool and with Virgil Van Dijk now set to be injured for the rest of the season, the defending Premier League champions have been dealt nothing less than a hammer blow.

A blow that could massively derail their hopes of winning back to back championship crowns and although a period of lengthy rehabilitation now awaits the Dutch defender, some feel that recriminations should be dealt elsewhere.

Van Dijk’s injury came after a lunge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and with the latter escaping censure for his rash actions, questions are being asked of the men charged with overseeing the laws of the game.

Namely the man in the middle, Michael Oliver and his VAR (Video Assistant Referee) David Coote, because even though the latter correctly confirmed an offside decision in the first phase of play, he neglected to focus on the lunge from Pickford.

A lunge that if it took place with play still being active, would have ultimately resulted in a red card for Everton’s goalkeeper. However, even if it were not, the man with the technology at his fingertips could have still had a word in his colleague’s ear.

A word that says, offside or not, Everton should now be a man light and although that would have offered Liverpool an immediate on-field advantage, it is their long-term disadvantage that rankles the most.

While it is David Coote himself who is perhaps having an issue with technology, as last season he neglected to highlight a nasty lunge by Tottenham Giovani Lo Celso on Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta and who was the referee that afternoon? None other than Michael Oliver.

Oliver is widely received as one of the best referees that the Premier League has to offer and it is possibly this stature within the game, that means more junior colleagues feel they cannot overrule any previous decisions that have been made.

Which if this is the case, there is a fundamental flaw in the operation of VAR and you only have to go back to last season and the clash between Aston Villa and Sheffield United for further evidence of technological problems.

A problem that saw Sheffield United denied a legitimate goal, after the Hawkeye technology failed and in all these three instances there is a common denominator, one that comes in the shape of Michael Oliver being the match referee.

That’s not to say Oliver has been at fault three times, but it does perhaps suggest that maybe you need to let talented people do their jobs and without the additional layers of technological bureaucracy that comes with it.

Of course, as far as VAR is concerned, the genie is most definitely out of the bottle and if anything, we are only going to see further strides in terms of assistance, which is no comfort to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Because had the necessary parties been switched on themselves, there would have been at least some form of recompense for the tackle on Virgil Van Dijk. Which means although fingers will be pointed for a while yet, it does seem that Jordan Pickford has got away with one here.

Written by Dan Tracey

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