Patrick Vieira reflects on VAR drama as Liverpool awarded late penalty vs Crystal Palace

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Patrick Vieira said the decision to award Liverpool a late penalty against Crystal Palace on Sunday was the wrong one and that it killed the Eagles’ hope of a comeback.

The Reds raced into a 2-0 lead at Selhurst Park courtesy of goals from Virgil van-Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, though were pegged back at the start of the second half when Odsonne Edouard halved the deficit from close range.

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Palace harboured hopes of a late leveller and brought on Christian Benteke, Jordan Ayew and Ebere Eze in a bid to snatch something from a game that had looked out of sight in the first half.

Instead, Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Jota crashed into Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in the box, with the winger seemingly falling into the Spaniard as the ball rolled out of play.

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Referee Kevin Friend initially saw nothing wrong with the incident, though after a lengthy VAR check he was told to consult the pitchside monitor to the ire of the home support.

He then went back on his initial decision and pointed to the spot, with Fabinho subsequently putting the ball past Guaita to kill the game off.

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“I can’t understand how he managed to give that penalty,” said Vieira after the game.

“I have looked at it in every single angle and I still don’t understand how that can be a penalty. So that decision took our hope away to get back into the game and to get the point. That was a really poor decision by the referee.”

“Contact is part of the game,” he later added. “If there is a situation like that, if there is not a previous contact, then there will not be any kind of penalty.

“Jota was quite smart and the referee was quite naive and the VAR was really naive. There is no way Jota could get the ball back and try and score.”

Speaking on Sky Sports after the game, pundit Jamie Redknapp agreed with Vieira that his former side Liverpool shouldn’t have been awarded the spot-kick.

“It’s not a penalty first of all,” said the pundit. “The referee got it right, you can see Jota went into the goalkeeper.

“We all thought VAR got it wrong but the referee still has the ability to go look at the screen and say ‘no I trust myself, I was right in the first place.'”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted he hadn’t had a chance to see the incident back but said he supported the officials’ decision to give the penalty.

“I didn’t see it,” he told reporters after the game. “VAR thought it was a penalty that’s why it went to the screens. I’m not sure why people are talking about it.”

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