Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has acknowledged Liverpool were denied a “legitimate goal” in last weekend’s match but defended VAR operator Darren England.
Spurs claimed a dramatic 2-1 victory over Liverpool last Saturday, but the result was mired in controversy after a Luis Diaz effort in the 34th-minute was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
The incident was reviewed but VAR operator England mistakenly believed the on-field decision had been to award the goal and, after establishing Diaz had been onside, England told referee Simon Hooper “check complete” before Tottenham resumed the game with the score 0-0.
“We’ve got to play our football, steer the game towards the areas we want to dominate in because if we don’t it becomes a difficult game for us.”
Ange looks ahead to #LUTTOT
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 6, 2023
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited subsequently admitted a “significant human error” occurred and released the audio this week, while on Wednesday Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stated a replay may be the best solution even though he admitted it was unlikely.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Luton, Postecoglou said: “The facts of it are that it was a legitimate goal Liverpool scored that wasn’t given.
“You kind of look at why it’s not given because that’s the first thing you question: obviously something has broken down.
“It became clear it wasn’t an integrity issue, it wasn’t a misappropriation of the law, it was an error in communication, a mistake, a mistake which cost Liverpool.
“I get that it’s an unusual one in that it’s never happened before, but at the same time we’re in a new space anyway with technology where I think they’ll be a lot of firsts with the way we deal with these things.”
The fallout from the incident has seen referee England reportedly told he will not officiate another Liverpool match this season, but Postecoglou railed against critics of the official.
“I don’t know if that’s been decided,” the Spurs boss added. “I’d be surprised if they have gone that way.
“It’s a significant error but it’s a human being that’s made that error. I don’t think that there’s anything that needs to go too far reaching
“From my perspective, when I listened to that audio, saying ‘check complete’, someone obviously thought it was a good way of finalising things and it’s worked up until now.
“I would have thought the logical thing is to say ‘goal for Liverpool’ but I’m saying that with the ignorance of not knowing how it’s truly set up.
“When listening to that you probably think there’s better ways of communicating a clear decision in such a big situation.
“I hope that’s what they’re addressing, not the individual that made the mistake. I think that’s a dereliction of the game.
“That’s like me hanging out a player to dry just because he made a mistake. My role is to go in and help that player to improve not say ‘now you’re never playing again’.”
Spurs’ focus will turn to their Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Luton and another victory for Postecoglou’s team would send them top of the Premier League until Sunday’s meeting between current leaders Manchester City and third-placed Arsenal.
James Maddison (knee) and Son Heung-min (groin) have been declared fit to play but Manor Solomon (knee) has joined a growing injury list that contains Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Rodrigo Bentancur (knee), Brennan Johnson (hamstring) and Ivan Perisic (knee).
Tottenham should have Bryan Gil and Giovani Lo Celso back on the bench after groin and quad issues respectively.
Postecoglou said: “If we win we go top of the table for 24 hours but who cares? We’ve got to win.
“It’s a tough game, our focus is on putting on a performance and playing at our best because if we don’t, it won’t matter where we’re sitting on the competition ladder, it’ll be us focusing on a poor performance.”