Why Liverpool were not awarded a penalty vs Arsenal for Gabriel’s handball

Liverpool were not given a penalty in their 3-2 defeat to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal because of Gabriel’s close proximity to the ball.

Gabriel Martinelli gave Arsenal the perfect start at the Emirates with a goal after only 58 seconds into the game.




But Liverpool felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the 15th minute as the ball struck the hand of Gabriel inside Arsenal’s area after a cross from Diogo Jota.

Michael Oliver chose not to award a penalty, while VAR reviewed the incident but did not overturn the referee’s decision.

The Premier League has followed up the decision to confirm that a penalty was not awarded due to Gabriel’s close proximity to Jota and the ball when the cross was played.

When announcing its revised laws about handball decisions last campaign, the Premier League stated: ‘The proximity of the player whose hand or arm makes contact with the ball to where the ball was struck from will still be an important consideration for officials when making a decision to award handball or not.’




Speaking at half time, former Liverpool player John Barnes agreed with the decision.

‘It’s too close,’ Barnes said. ‘I don’t like this idea of an unnatural position because you’re a footballer, I’m not sure what an unnatural position is if you’re a footballer, running around your hands are up. It’s too close [to give a penalty].’

Liverpool eventually equalised through Darwin Nunez but Arsenal were able to finish the first half with a 2-1 lead as Bukayo Saka scored just before the half time.

Roberto Firmino then scored a second leveller for Liverpool, while Klopp’s side will feel aggrieved by another Oliver’s decision as a soft penalty was given against Thiago which allowed Saka to score Arsenal’s winning goal.

JB

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