For Andy Robertson, the debate around VAR is simple: is it a change that enhances the beautiful game?
Increasingly, within football itself, the answer is no.
And for that reason, the defender insists he is one of a large number of players and staff who believe that if VAR hasn’t made things better, then it should be scrapped.
After yet another controversial and inconsistent weekend of VAR decisions, the talk ahead of Liverpool ’s key Champions League clash with Ajax was not of the drama of another passionate Anfield night of European football, but of refereeing mistakes.
And Robertson argued – with some powerful insight from those who make the game what it is, the players themselves – that if VAR is still getting the same things wrong, then football would be better off without a system that sucks the life out of the drama.
“We knew we would have to be patient with VAR and it wouldn’t be perfect overnight, but we are now 18 months down the line and the same mistakes are being made,” he said.
“Too many games are passing by where you are either watching on telly or the people in studios are discussing referee’s decision or what could have been. I didn’t think that was possible after VAR but it is now becoming possible.
“If that is still going to be a discussion and a thing, then I would much rather leave it up to the referee’s naked eye.
“It is much easier to accept mistakes then, than it is when so much technology is around it.”
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.
But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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For Robertson, that is the key point.
VAR was introduced to remove the obvious refereeing mistake from the game.
But it is creating its own controversy with so many debatable decisions, based around microscopic calls, and stop frame, super slow motion.
So his argument – and that of most players, it seems – is simple. VAR is actually creating more mistakes with such an approach, both in terms of interpretation, and consistency.
And it does that by completely destroying the pace, the passion and the outpouring of emotion that makes the game so great.
So scrap it, he suggests: “A lot of players and a lot of football fans are feeling (they) are not enjoying football as much as they once did because it is constantly in review, constantly on a screen and you are still not getting the consistency that we are looking for.
“When referees make mistakes it was just what they seen in that moment. We go out on football parks and make mistakes all the time, so they were no different.
“It was easier to accept, but now that you have technology and so many cameras, and angles and a second referee who is watching the game from a telly it makes it that bit more difficult.
“Sometimes it takes so long, and I think it is affecting the game.”
Robertson pointed to the fact that even Kevin de Bruyne, and his own skipper Jordan Henderson have said in recent weeks that they are not sure of the rules any more, because the interpretation changes almost from game to game.
And that was never more evident last weekend, when he was penalised for a penalty, but both Marcus Rashford and Adama Traore didn’t get penalties when they were kicked in almost exactly the same way just a day later.
“I think consistency is the thing. We believed we would be getting that with VAR and we are not getting it right now..and the game is crying out for it.
“With VAR we believed there would be no grey areas, it would all be black and white, but we are not getting that.
“On Saturday, I have no problem if my tackle is a penalty, if the rules and the referee deem that as a penalty then I have no problem with it.
“But I was also watching the games yesterday and I saw two very similar instances on Marcus Rashford and Adama Traore that went unpunished and looked very, very similar to what I did to Danny Welbeck.
“Both of them were not a penalty and mine was. For me, all three have to be a penalty or all three were not penalties.
“That is so frustrating for teams to see that inconsistency.”
Liverpool could have Naby Keita back for the visit of Ajax, where a win would guarantee qualification for the knock out stage of the Champions League.”
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