Ex-Referee chief slams two decisions that went against Liverpool in Carabao Cup final

Former head of Premier League referees Keith Hackett has claimed Liverpool can 'feel aggrieved' by two key decisions in Sunday's Carabao Cup final win.

'Klopp's Kids' ultimately secured a dramatic victory over Chelsea at Wembley, with Virgil van Dijk heading home from Kostas Tsimikas' corner late into extra time.

The goal from the captain secured Liverpool's record tenth League Cup title, amid a slew of injury problems that left Jurgen Klopp relying on his second string and academy talents to get the job done.

Despite the jubilation, the match was not without controversy, with Liverpool on the receiving end of two particularly controversial decisions from referee Chris Kavanagh.

Ryan Gravenberch became the latest injury concern for the Reds when he was stretchered off in the first half following a reckless challenge from Moises Caicedo.

The Ecuadorian connected with his studs on the Liverpool midfielder's ankle but avoided punishment completely, with VAR unable to intervene.

Then in the second half, the Reds saw an initially perfectly legitimate looking goal from Van Dijk ruled out after Wataru Endo was deemed to be offside and interfering with play in the build-up.

Football - Football League Cup - Final - Chelsea FC v Liverpool FC LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool s captain Virgil van Dijk reacts during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda LONDON Wembley Stadium GREATER LONDON ENGLAND PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xDavidxRawcliffex P2024-02-25-Chelsea_Liverpool-84

Both moments were the subject of much debate among fans and pundits alike, while Klopp was seen ignoring referee Kavanagh's hand at the final whistle.

Former Premier League referee and head of PGMOL Hackett has backed Liverpool's grievances, insisting Van Dijk's goal should have stood while Chelsea should have been reduced to ten men.

In a column for the Telegraph, Hackett wrote: "The decision to rule out Virgil van Dijk’s opener at Wembley was incredibly harsh. Wataru Endo should not have been flagged offside and was merely standing his ground with Levi Colwill.

"It goes back to the inconsistency of decision making among the VAR and officials and until that is improved we are going to witness these flashpoints. This happens every week up and down the country, where holding offences go unpunished.

"Wataru Endo stood his ground - space is not owned by anyone on a football field - and there was nowhere he could go. Where is he expected to stand? The law says that an offence occurs when a player in an offside position interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball but I am not sure Colwill was getting to Van Dijk and he appeared to run into the Liverpool midfielder just as much as Endo made contact with him."

Meanwhile on the Gravenberch-Caicedo incident, Hackett opined: "Moises Caicedo’s foul on Ryan Gravenberch in the first half was reckless and it endangered the safety of an opponent. Again, there’s plenty of inconsistency here: you saw on Saturday that Harry Maguire escaped a sending off for Manchester United but Billy Gilmour was dismissed for Brighton.



"Aside from the clear and obvious nature of the offence, it left Gravenberch needing a stretcher. These types of challenges need outlawing from the game.

"Yes, it is a final and you want it to remain 11 vs 11 at all times, but it was a sending off offence. Chelsea got away with one there."

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Klopp was critical of Kavanagh's performance in the cup final, saying: "There were two teams who were fighting extremely hard and the referee did not have the level of the game. That’s how it is, I’m sorry for that. Everybody saw that.

"It was not even a foul on Gravenberch?! He didn’t even whistle a foul. The fourth official says to me, ‘we cannot give a card because [he didn’t whistle]’. Oh, good.

"I’m not sure if these boys are too quick for them, but this situation, for me, is obvious. The doctor saw it on the video and saw just the foot stepping on the ankle. That’s everything you need for a card."

Share This Article