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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jamie Braidwood

Joe Cole splits opinion after VAR denies Liverpool late equaliser: ‘The ref got it right’


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was outraged when VAR controversially ruled out Jarell Quansah’s late equaliser in the Reds’ dramatic 3-2 defeat to Toulouse, but Joe Cole insisted the “ref got it right” after disallowing the goal because of an earlier Alexis Mac Allister handball.

Quansah was denied his first Liverpool goal after bundling in a 98th minute equaliser when Mac Allister was ruled to have used his arm to control the ball as the Reds pressed for a late draw in the Europa League clash.

However, Liverpool and Klopp were livid as Mac Allister’s handball came several phases before Quansah thought he had levelled. The Argentine midfielder’s touch came roughly 10 seconds before the 20-year-old scrambled in the equaliser.

Commentating on TNT Sports, former Liverpool winger Steve McManamann said a “million things” had happened before Quansah struck, while Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher tweeted: “The game has gone! Get rid of VAR, that’s a disgrace.”

There was further confusion as the on-field referee Georgi Kabakov appeared to point to the centre-circle, awarding the goal, before he was sent to the pitchside monitor for an on-field review and then overturned his decision.

Speaking on TNT Sports, former Chelsea and Liverpool winger Cole said: “I think it was a handball. It was a strange situation because we were all wondering what was going to be the decision given the handball happened quite a while before the goal went in, but the ref got it right.

“Much to the dismay and frustration of Liverpool fans and players, it was the right call.”

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis agreed. She said: “A great finish by Quansah who thought he had equalised but I think it was rightly ruled out in the end.

“He showed real determination to get his side back in the game, like I said a good finish from the defender, but it is a handball.”

The Reds thrashed their French opponents 5-1 at Anfield two weeks ago, but the side who are 14th in Ligue 1 flipped the script as Liverpool suffered just their second defeat in all competitions this season.

Before kick-off, Liverpool were boosted by the news that Luis Diaz’s father had been released by his kidnappers in Colombia, 13 days after he was seized by gunmen from the guerrilla group National Liberation Army.

Diaz was in the starting line-up and was bright as Liverpool made a positive start, but a mistake by Kostas Tsimikas allowed the hosts to take a 36th-minute lead when he was caught in possession and Aron Donnum fired a deflected shot past Caoimhin Kelleher.

Klopp turned to his bench at half time and introduced Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai, but Liverpool’s task soon became harder when Thijs Dallinga doubled Toulouse’s lead with a thumping finish shortly before the hour.

The Reds were fortunate to pull one back when home defender Cristian Casseres bundled into his own net, but Toulouse immediately restored their two-goal advantage as Frank Magri slammed in a rebound after some poor Liverpool defending.

Diogo Jota pulled another back for the visitors late on before Liverpool were denied a late equaliser by VAR. Klopp’s side remain top of Group E on nine points, but Toulouse are now just a further two behind in the race to reach the last-16 as group winners.

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