VAR: Why the Manchester United and Liverpool derby took a backseat at the weekend

The fierce rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United often books itself a prime-spot on Sky Sports whenever the clubs meet.

But on Sunday, the two sides were not the talking point after the game, as VAR stole the show once again.

With Liverpool going into the match on a 17-game win streak and United struggling in the bottom half of the table, many expected a walk-over from the Merseyside club, despite Salah not being included in the squad.

The opening minutes however brought out a different side to the United players that the home fans have been craving, with the players throwing their bodies into challenges and fighting for their shirt.

But when everything was in place for a classic derby, with both sets of fans in full voice, it took only 36 minutes for the new technology brought into the Premier League this season to confuse many watching. 

As Divock Origi seemed to be brought down, the referee played on, resulting in Marcus Rashford scoring at the other end. Despite Jurgen Klopp’s disputes, Martin Atkinson, with the help of VAR, decided there was not a ‘clear and obvious error’ in the decision leading to the goal being scored.

After various replays were shown after the check had been made, there appeared to be contact on Origi, with Gary Neville admitting on punditry with Sky Sports that ‘I think that’s going to get over turned, you see he turns and there’s a kick on Origi’s calf.’

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Minutes after, Sadio Mane put the ball in United’s net to which the Liverpool fans erupted, thinking they were level. But VAR saw a handball from the Senegalese striker and the goal was disallowed.

What Needs to Happen..

After watching VAR in the Premier League for a few months, a clear problem with it is consistency. It is always going to improve with time and referees will become more efficient with it, but at the moment it needs altering.

VAR needs to be used quicker – there were a few decisions in the game that took two minutes to carry out, which really slowed the game down and numbed the atmosphere, when it only needed one look for the decision to be given.

The rules need changing – VAR is taking the brunt of all things wrong in football, when really the rules need fixing. A handball rule needs to be solid and kept the same, to avoid confusion and improve consistency.

While the positive impact of VAR in football is unclear, Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table is still a strong six points after an eventful weekend.

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