In today’s episode, I have a conversation with my guest host, Micah Umeh, as we talk about Liverpool’s struggles along with what VAR(video assistant referee) has done to the modern game. There is no doubt that VAR has completed issues, but has it simplified certain things as well? My guest host and I discuss some of the future changes we’d like to see implemented into the system.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Alright, do you want to talk about your Liverpool team today?(Laughs)
MICAH UMEH: BROOO don’t even get me started man. You know the thing is to,
usually like I will be mad, but today I just laughed, I just looked at it, and you just have to laugh though. You can’t even be mad anymore, this shit is so poor it’s so bad, Allison is just, I don’t know.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: So I was watching before, oh my God sorry there’s like a snow-blower outside, but I was watching ESPN FC before this, and they were having a debate whether or not it’s Allison ‘s fault, or if it’s Klopp’s fault for forcing the system to play out of the back.
MICAH UMEH: No, no…
JULLIAN SWEENEY: I don’t think so because he could’ve just launched the ball.
MICAH UMEH: Yeah, that’s a personal decision that’s something like, it’s a mistake that he made twice, the second one was mostly likely because of just confidence and lack of concentration, because he already made a mistake, so his head was probably just still down. But I don’t think it’s down to the system bro, like how many clubs nowadays days play out the back, like Brighton play out the back, you know what I mean, like that’s the reason he f*cked up. He f*cked up because he f*cked up, you know what I mean, and he’ll own up to that. Ederson is probably laughing though.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Yeah he just won the Brasil job though.
MICAH UMEH: Yeah he’s definitely laughing his ass off right now. Allison probably feels like shit.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Dude so what about the penalty, so I think it technically is a penalty because he did pull him back…
MICAH UMEH: Which one, Gündogan’s or…
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Salah.
MICAH UMEH: That’s a pen. I’m standing by that, the’s a pen.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: I think it’s a pen, but, okay I agree I think it’s a pen. But I was watching this angle of the replay, he like felt the contact, and then he started moving, and then he just like completely flew on the ground. He was about to fall down, then he was like I’m gonna fall down in this way. He didn’t have to go like that.
MICAH UMEH: There’s no denying that he did make the most of it, but what soccer player does’t make the most out of it nowadays, like everybody flops. But, I feel like as a ref here’s what you have to look at. Was there contact? Yes there was contact. Was he impeding him from making a play? Yes he was and if that was enough contact for him to fall down, probably not fall down in the way he did you know, but it was enough contact to stop him from continuing, to score essentially. Gündogan’s one was a penalty though, there’s no arguing that one.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Dude, Gündogan’s been insane this season.
MICAH UMEH: I know I know, he’s been class. I’m stuck between him and Fernandes for best midfielder of the year so far. Souček as well, Souček is whoof, he’s so underrated.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: I agree. See that can lead us into like the VAR decision, did you see the red card yesterday?
MICAH UMEH: No I did not see it.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Oh, alright, well we can talk about it at another time, but he even tweeted about it afterwards it was basically Mitrović, I think it was tied at that point, I think it remained tied the whole game…
MICAH UMEH: Oh I know, I saw this.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Yeah, he tweeted after and he was like I talked to Mitrović
and Mitrović didn’t even think it was a penalty, and it took like five minutes for the ref to go over, go to VAR, it was just the most accidental contact I’ve ever seen and he gave like a straight red it was so dumb.
MICAH UMEH: Yeah, yeah. I mean I don’t know, I don’t know if intention can account into it you know what I mean? Because I can not mean, for example, I’m trying to think of the red card, the straight red for the Southhampton player, number 67, the youngster, first start in the Premier League gets a red card right there, and that’s when they lost 9-0. But yeah, he obviously did’t mean to kill McTominay, he kind of just went in, it was a hard challenge, it was way above the ball, it was high. But if we’re talking about intention then that would be a yellow, because he didn’t mean to hurt him, but it’s just a dangerous tackle.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: I don’t know, I think VAR, a lot of people have this debate like, “oh VAR is ruining the game”, I think it is and it isn’t because then without, let’s say you take away VAR, you’re still having the problem of like, “oh if we did have VAR then that would’ve been reversed, or that would’ve been called”, so you need VAR, I just don’t think VAR has been used properly since it came out.
MICAH UMEH: I mean, what would you add to it? Because right now it’s red cards and it’s offsides, offsides once the goal is scored, and it’s pens. And then there’s other stuff like hand balls, but it’s just reviews and all that stuff but I think that’s after the ball goes out, or a goal has been scored.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Honestly, no I wouldn’t change rules that it affects, I would change how referees are trained.
MICAH UMEH: What do you mean?
JULLIAN SWEENEY: I don’t know, is it Mike Dean?
MICAH UMEH: Mike Dean, yeah what about him?
JULLIAN SWEENEY: The referee who made the decision yesterday, and the referee who made the Soućek decision, and then he made, or he referred the Man United-Southhampton game, and I don’t know if its just him, I don’t think its just him but he’s made terrible calls this entire season, like why, I don’t know how you could fix that. If you train them properly maybe, because every single rule is like a gray area, it can go one way or another, in terms of yellow and red, so I think there just needs to be clearer rules because every week it’s different. Like every single week it’s different, you see it called for one team, particularly Man United, and then it’s not called for any other team.
MICAH UMEH: Consistency is definitely a problem, but I feel like consistency in terms of VAR is going to be hard because the VAR referee changes, it’s not the same person every time, also referees change, so in terms of consistency, it’s never going to be perfect, but I feel like VAR can be more perfect than the on-field decision, you know what I mean?
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Yeah.
MICAH UMEH: In VAR, you have the chance to look, or you should be allowed the chance to look at past results and past offenses, because you have the technology right there in front of you. But if you don’t have the technology like on field, then it’s going to be a little bit more difficult to call the same kind of call that was made last season, or however many months ago, however many games ago. Anybody who tells me VAR is ruining the game, I never agree with it because look at how many goals it’s taken back, think about the amount of money that would’ve been lost from clubs had there not been a change in the decision. I think in the Ajax-Spurs game, last year, no two years ago, when Liverpool won the Champions League, there was a call that helped them, that helped Spurs beat Ajax, I remember that I think it was Son’s goal maybe, it was a huge decision and without VAR that wouldn’t have happened. Who knows, Spurs probably wouldn’t have made it, because one goal took them.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: I saw this clip today, I can’t do social media anymore, but I downloaded Twitter a few months ago and in my opinion it’s the best form of social media…
MICAH UMEH: Are you serious? How bro?
JULLIAN SWEENEY: What happened?
MICAH UMEH: Instagram!
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Nooooo.
MICAH UMEH: What’s the difference, it’s all the same shit.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: Yeah, I just think Instagram is like, I think Twitter is more direct, I don’t want to see random people’s photos, I don’t care.
MICAH UMEH: On Twitter you see random people’s photos as well.
JULLIAN SWEENEY: But, okay, true, but it’s more of stuff that I care about like soccer Twitter, so many Chelsea accounts always on my feed, gaming Twitter, I don’t know, I don’t know, I get it. But basically it was somewhere in Australia it was a soccer game, it was like a FOX thing and on the commentary you had the guy in the VAR booth, I don’t think it’s VAR but it was something like VAR, and he was telling the referee, and you heard it in the T.V., you heard it, and he was like I think you should check this for possible intentional contact. And the referee walked over and he was talking throughout it, like you could hear the conversation and the decision being made, and then he gave the guy a red card, because it was an actual red card. And that would be good for either NBC or Sky Sports or whatever did that, because then we could kind of understand what’s going through their mind.
https://www.premierleague.com (The Premier League Official Website)
https://football-technology.fifa.com/en/media-tiles/video-assistant-referee-var/ (VAR website)