Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Referee decision explained after Arsenal complaints over Liverpool winning goal

Minutes before Darwin Nunez’s dramatic 99th-minute winner propelled Liverpool four points clear at the summit of the Premier League, Nottingham Forest found themselves unfairly deprived of possession.

The Uruguayan striker, marking his return from injury with his 14th goal of the season, sealed a breathtaking last-minute victory for Jurgen Klopp’s squad at the City Ground, inflicting further despair on relegation-threatened Forest.

Nunez, absent from Liverpool’s previous three fixtures due to a muscle injury sustained against Brentford, emerged from the bench for the final 30 minutes in the Midlands, bolstering Liverpool’s lead over Manchester City and Arsenal ahead of their forthcoming matches against Manchester United and Sheffield United.

However, controversy marred the winning goal, as supporters of Liverpool’s title rivals, particularly City and Arsenal, were quick to raise objections.

This stemmed from an erroneous decision by referee Paul Tierney, who wrongly awarded Liverpool possession moments before Nunez’s decisive goal.

The contentious incident unfolded in the 97th minute, following a collision between Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher and Ibrahima Konate from a corner kick, leaving Konate injured on the ground.

Despite Forest pressing for a goal to extricate themselves from the relegation quagmire, Tierney erroneously halted play and granted Liverpool possession, ignoring IFAB rules mandating a drop ball in such circumstances.

According to IFAB regulations, specifically ruling 8.2, a drop ball is only awarded to the defending team’s goalkeeper if, at the time of the stoppage, the ball—or its last touch—resided in the penalty area.

In all other cases though, the referee should give a drop ball for “one player of the team that last touched the ball at the position where it last touched a player”.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that while supporters of Nottingham Forest, Arsenal, and Manchester City have swiftly highlighted the incident in stoppage time during Saturday’s match, Darwin Nunez’s winning goal transpired nearly two minutes subsequent to the failure to grant a drop ball.

Moreover, two sequences of play ensued, with Forest conceding both a throw-in and a corner kick within that interval.

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