Incredibly, Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table would be cut from 13 points to just six if Video Assistant Referees (VAR) wasn’t in play.
The European champions beat Wolves in their most recent league outing after having the decision to rule out their opening goal overturned, before seeing their opponent’s equaliser, on the stroke of half-time, chalked off for a marginal offside.
This was not the first time Liverpool have been on the favourable end of a VAR intervention. According to The Sun, the Reds have had four calls in their favour, with two against. Working off the basis that none of the 58 decisions changed by VAR were put into effect, Liverpool would be five points worse off, although still in first place.
Earlier in the season, Chelsea thought they had cancelled out Trent Alexander-Arnold’s opener when César Azpilicueta netted at Stamford Bridge in September, only for VAR to rule Mason Mount offside in the build-up.
In November, the on-field referee missed Jordan Ayew’s shove on Dejan Lovren at Crystal Palace as James Tomkins found the net, only to have his effort ruled out. Liverpool went on to with the match via Roberto Firmino‘s 85th-minute goal.
On Sunday afternoon, it seemed that luck was on Liverpool’s side once again, or rather, it was more emphatically absent from Wolves. Nuno Espírito Santo’s team were enraged by the decisions that went against them when they faced the Reds, but it seems that the Midlands outfit can feel more aggrieved than most following VAR’s introduction this season.
Wolves are the only side in the Premier League who are yet to have a decision overturned in their favour. Given that they’ve seen six decisions go the other way, one can imagine that the frustration shown by Santo and his players was not solely a result of the events in that specific match.
Wolves would be seven points and two places better off had the Premier League not implemented VAR this season, representing the biggest points swing in the division.
As the old adage goes, mistakes tend to even themselves out over the course of the season, perhaps the same is true of correct VAR interventions. At least, that’s what Wolves are hoping.