File this one under Conspiracy Theories Against Managers, by Managers: Jurgen Klopp believes that first-half stoppage time for Liverpool’s 3-2 FA Cup defeat to West Bromwich Albion was cut short by six full minutes, at the behest of UK television broadcasters.
If you take Klopp’s math at face value — there’s no reason not to, in truth — then referee Craig Pawson certainly should have ordered more than four minutes be added after consulting the video-assistant refereeing system on three occasions in the first half alone. VAR would be utilized eight times on the night.
A three-minute, 53-second stoppage deemed that Liverpool should be awarded a penalty kick (which Roberto Firmino missed) in the 27th minute, plus two additional consultations to disallow one West Brom goal and allow another — quotes from the Guardian:
“What I heard was that the actual extra time in the first half should have been 10 minutes. It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it’s not longer than four minutes. Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don’t know what was on afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say: ‘It’s now a little bit too long.'”
“I stepped back [from saying anything on Saturday] because you don’t want to be seen as a bad loser or whatever but that was the situation. I would not have spoken about it but that was the case.
“Every time we discuss something like this it is: ‘Yes, but we take the money from TV.’ That is true but there should be a group of people from television, the Premier League, the Football League and all the clubs sitting together. The most important thing is the players and the game. I think a little more common sense would make sense. We deliver a fantastic product and it is not that television will sell it for more money somewhere else.”
VAR was roundly panned for the amount of time required to make seemingly straightforward decisions, so it’s entirely possible that the amount of stoppage time was incorrectly tallied in another shortcoming of a new protocol. With that said, it’s not hard to count on a watch and other extremely advanced technological devices, and it’s more than a little curious.
The telltale sign of broadcasters’ disdain for VAR will be apparent if/when broadcast windows for games are extended to accommodate the use of video review upon full-time implementation.