Ex-Premier League referee: Liverpool profit from major injustice as controversial Darwin Nunez footage analysed
Liverpool should not have had a penalty in their 3-1 win over Man City in the Community Shield on Saturday (30 July), according to Keith Hackett.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee claimed Rodri’s handball was not deliberate.
The ball struck Rodri’s arm after a header from close range by Darwin Nunez, as shown by the highlights on BBC’s YouTube channel.
Craig Pawson let play continue but VAR intervened to award a penalty which Mohamed Salah converted.
“I think it’s a tough call,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.
“What’s important this year is that the Premier League, through the PGMOL, in the close season have hopefully talked to match officials to get a more consistent understanding of what handball is and how they are going to punish it.
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“In a way, the whole discussion centres around this making the body larger. We’ve also got to take into account that arm movement is linked to body movement when players are trying to get to the ball.
“What disappoints me is that there isn’t an emphasis in law and referee’s interpretation on the word deliberate. Can we say that handball was deliberate?
“You want to see some movement, you want to see that body extension. For me, this appeared to be a natural play by the defender with no intention of handling the ball.
“I think the ball struck him, I don’t think his arm was out deliberately to stop the ball or in an unnatural position. Therefore, for me, I don’t support the decision of a handball.
“This coming season we’ve got to get a greater clarification and consistency on handball. On this one, I’m going with Craig Pawson’s initial decision. I think VAR has gone hunting.
“I think the penalty kick was harsh and this highlights the dilemma that referees have got until the guy at the top gives a very clear brief on what is going to be punished and what is not going to be punished.”