VAR Controversy as Liverpool Edge Wolves to Extend Lead to 13 Points



*Chelsea snatch late winner against Arsenal

Liverpool finish the year with a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League table following a 1-0 victory over Wolves amidst more Video Assistant Referee (VAR) controversy at Anfield.

Elsewhere, Chelsea overcame an “awful” start as they staged a stunning late comeback to snatch 2-1 victory and wreck Mikel Arteta’s return to Emirates Stadium as Arsenal manager.

Arteta, taking charge of his first home game since succeeding the sacked Unai Emery, looked on course for three important points after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early header put the Gunners in front.

Sadio Mane scored the winner for Liverpool in the first half, slotting it past keeper Rui Patricio after it bounced off Adam Lallana’s shoulder in the box.

There was a lengthy VAR review for handball from Lallana before referee Anthony Taylor eventually confirmed the goal.

Wolves then had a goal disallowed by VAR for a marginal offside by Jonny after Pedro Neto had drilled his shot into the bottom left corner on the stroke of half-time.

Liverpool had chances to extend their lead – Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino coming close either side of the break, but Wolves were also bright.

Diogo Jota had two big chances in the second half – the first a shot from a tight angle in the box which flew wide of the right post, the second a festive gift from a Virgil van Dijk mistake which he hit straight at Liverpool keeper Alisson.

Liverpool finish the year as resounding favourites to win their first league title in 30 years, while Wolves end 2019 in good form despite defeat at Anfield.

There is not a weekend that goes by in the Premier League in which VAR controversy is not at the heart of it – and both decisions were marginal at Anfield.

Wolves fans were clearly frustrated, greeting referee Anthony Taylor with a roar of boos on his re-entry to the pitch following the half-time break, and they sang of their disapproval of the VAR system as frustrations continued in the second half.

Liverpool’s opening goal appeared to strike the top of Lallana’s shoulder, near his collar bone, rather than his arm, while Wolves’ disallowed goal was because Jonny had a toe offside.

On a weekend where Norwich striker Teemu Pukki and Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha were also victims of close offside calls, the talk – once again – will be of the use of VAR and not how Liverpool managed to grind out yet another win in the league