Liverpool Dumped Out of FA Cup

Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion takes a shot past Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool in the build up to an own goal scored by Joel Matip of Liverpool.Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion takes a shot past Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool in the build up to an own goal scored by Joel Matip of Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool dropped out of the FA Cup in the fourth round on January 27 for the third consecutive season because of typical, avoidable mistakes in defense.

That, however, does not tell the whole story of an eventful evening and a memorable victory for an excellent West Bromwich Albion side, which became the first visitor to win at Anfield since last April, the Independent wrote.

An upset did not seem on the cards when Roberto Firmino opened the scoring early on, but Jay Rodriguez leveled 71 seconds later and then found another to give Alan Pardew’s side the lead after just 11 minutes.

A Joel Matip own goal on the cusp of half-time extended West Bromwich’s lead further and the relegation-threatened outfit ultimately held out to progress, despite Mohamed Salah scoring his 25th goal of the season deep into the second half.

 VAR in Spotlight

The main talking point from a thrilling night of football, however, would be the new Video Assistant Referee system and specifically, a six-minute period in the first half that is likely to define the debate about VAR’s use for the weeks and months to come.

Even though all of the key decisions it helped referee Craig Pawson to make were correct, the time each decision took and the confusion the new system caused will lead many to question whether this technology, still in its trial stage, is worth continuing with.

First, after a delay of around two minutes, VAR ruled out a Craig Dawson header which appeared to double West Bromwich’s lead.

In the very next phase of play, and for the first time in English football, Pawson used an on-field review to award Liverpool a penalty, but only after another delay of almost four minutes.

Nevertheless, only four minutes were added on at the end of the first half, but there was still time for VAR to be called on again, with the technology correctly allowing Matip’s decisive own goal to stand, albeit after another two-minute delay. While it may have provided clarity to those watching on television at home, at Anfield there was only confusion, and that made for a chaotic, uneven cup tie.

At the very least, it was entertaining, which is more than could be said for the previous meeting between these two sides on this ground before Christmas.

That night, they played out a drab and goalless stalemate but a month on, it took just seven minutes for both defenses to be breached.

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