'They both come in high' - Social media reacts to VAR audio from Liverpool penalty decision vs Man City

Wake up babe, new bizarre VAR audio dropped. Liverpool fans have a new phrase to rival 'good process' after the conversations between the on-field officials and VAR team was released detailing how and why the Reds weren't awarded a last-minute penalty against Manchester City.

Liverpool drew 1-1 at home to City on 10 March in a thrilling encounter, with Alexis Mac Allister's second-half penalty cancelling out John Stones' opener.

However, while the Reds put in a strong performance, particularly after the break, they were left feeling they might have taken all three points.

Pushing for a winner deep into stoppage time, Mac Allister was caught in the chest by Jeremy Doku's high boot inside the penalty area.

Referee Michael Oliver ignored the shouts for a foul, while the VAR review saw no reason to overturn the on-field decision.

The incident led to widespread outrage and incredulity, with former referees Mark Clattenberg and Keith Hackett both agreeing that it should've been a clear penalty.

Speaking after the game Jurgen Klopp told reporters: "It's a penalty for all football people on the planet. If you think it's not one, then maybe you are not a football person."

However, despite what we all saw with our eyes, on Tuesday it was reported that the Premier League's Key Match Incidents (KMI) panel, responsible for reviewing controversial moments in matches, had upheld Oliver's decision — though the vote was not unanimous.

The verdict read: “The panel were split (3:2) with the majority supporting the on-field no-penalty decision.

“[It was] a genuine attempt to play the ball . . . with both players coming into contact with each other as a result. Doku is just about entitled to challenge for the ball and, despite making contact with Mac Allister’s chest, he makes contact with the ball.

“Two panelists felt that the on-field decision was incorrect and a penalty should have been awarded as ‘Mac Allister gets there first. Doku’s foot is high and makes clear contact with his studs on Mac Allister’s chest’.

“The majority of the panel (4:1) supported the VAR’s decision to not intervene but one panelist felt the VAR was incorrect to not intervene for a clear and obvious error.”

That ruling was then followed by the latest episode of Match Officials Mic'd Up, in which PGMOL chief Howard Webb talked through the decisions alongside VAR audio from the game.

From the audio between referee Oliver, VAR Stuart Atwell and AVAR Nick Hopton we got the immortal line "they both come in high" to add to the canon of bizarre phrases uttered by officials in Liverpool-related incidents this season.

Full VAR audio from Mac Allister penalty appeal:

VAR: "Headed for me. Possible foul on defender."

Ref: "No. Not for me, mate."

VAR: "Checking possible penalty."

Ref: "I think the ball is in the middle and he [Doku] just tries to play the ball. There might be some contact."

VAR: "So there's clear contact on the ball by Doku. Yeah, so he plays the ball, they both come in high. I don't think there is enough evidence for a penalty kick. He plays the ball

AVAR (assistant VAR): "Are you happy he definitely plays it?"

VAR: "He's definitely touched it. Mac Allister's then coming into his space. Mac Allister turns his back to him. It's a coming together."

Atwell's choice wording of "they both come in high" garnered particular attention online. If you don't laugh, you'll cry...

It wasn't just Liverpool fans incensed by the decision which may ultimately have a say on this season's title race...

Addressing the controversial incident in the studio with Michael Owen, Webb admitted he understood why the decision was a 'split opinion', but reasoned that the high threshold for VAR intervention meant Oliver was not sent to review his original decision on the pitch-side monitor.

Webb said: "If the referee gives it on the field, it would have been a check complete by the VAR and equally, having not given it, it's also check complete. You hear Michael Oliver say the balls in between two players going together. The ball is too low to head. Doku, lifts his foot to play the ball, and he does make contact on the ball.

"And yes, we know there's some contact on Mac Allister as well, Mac Allister comes into him, Mac Allister is not really playing the ball either. So, I understand why it's split opinion.

"I think it would have been checked complete either way, not wanting to to re-referee the gaming situations that are not really clear which is what we think the VAR is is for in this situation. The VAR stays out of it. I think that is what we would we would expect. You want to to know with clarity, with certainty that you're making the right decision. You know, you don't always have sufficient information in the moment to make that decision.

"Clearly, Michael [Oliver] didn't have it in this situation. And then the VAR looks at it and doesn't see a clear and obvious situation. You see something that's pretty subjective and therefore stays out of it, and the feedback we've had from people within the game is that this is a pretty subjective situation, it's split opinion.

"So on that basis, the VAR, you know, working to that high threshold kind of followed the kind of the right course in not getting involved."

There are ten Premier League games to go. The title race is tight but the real question is: will there be time for one more surreal, meme-provoking VAR audio drop this season?

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