Sam McGuire: If any title deserves an asterisk it's this one - Liverpool have been SHAFTED

People claim the 2019/20 Premier League campaign has an asterisk attached. And that Liverpool’s title success is somewhat tainted due to the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in the season being postponed from early March to late June. 

They ignore the fact that the Reds held a 25-point lead over Manchester City with just nine matches left to play. They ignore Liverpool’s relentless run of 27 wins, one draw and one defeat in their 29 Premier League outings. 

It was a matter of when and not if Jurgen Klopp’s side would end the 30-year wait for the title. The hiatus during lockdown did nothing more than prolong the inevitable. It didn’t change the outcome. The Premier League title was heading to Anfield. 

Deep down, they all know this but opt to force a narrative that simply is not true, all while overlooking the truly tainted titles. Because if they truly had anything about them, they would all be calling out the 2023/24 season for what it is. 

A FARCE. 

Liverpool have collapsed at the worst possible time, winning just one of their last five Premier League outings. Their lead at the top of the table quickly vanished and they now find themselves five points behind Arsenal. They’re also four points behind Manchester City with the reigning champions having a game in hand. 

But the Premier League table would look significantly different had the officials done their job this season. 

Anthony Taylor's clear mistakes at West Ham

In the 2-2 draw with West Ham United on Saturday, Anthony Taylor and the VAR team made two key calls that likely changed the outcome of the game. Firstly, despite looking straight at it, Taylor didn’t feel Lucas Paqueta’s foul on Alexis Mac Allister was worthy of a caution.

The Brazilian midfielder caught the Liverpool maestro on the ankle having missed the ball. It looked worse in slow motion but even at full speed, it was easy to spot the definite foul.

You then expect VAR to intervene. After all, both Curtis Jones and Cristian Romero have been sent off for similar things this season. Yet nothing happened and Paqueta was allowed to go about his business as usual. This was just five minutes into the match. 

Lucas Paqueta challenge, West Ham vs Liverpool

West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League - London Stadium Tempers flare between Liverpool s Virgil van Dijk second right and West Ham United s Lucas Paqueta during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Picture date: Saturday April 27, 2024. EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRL Copyright: xJonathanxBradyx 75999880

If the Hammers had to play 85 minutes of the game with 10 men, the Reds might’ve been able to claim three points to keep their title hopes alive.  

Taylor then made a right mess of a situation in the second half. Having signalled to play advantage, he stopped the game 20 seconds later just as Cody Gakpo was about to capitalise on an Alphonse Areola mistake.  

The French keeper rolled the ball out and then started to fiddle with his socks. Given this wasn’t a dead ball, Gakpo raced into the area only for Taylor to blow his whistle. He forced Areola to get treatment and then allowed the keeper to restart play with the ball in his hands.  Had it been a free-kick, it should’ve been taken from the spot the foul occurred. 

It was a clear mistake. A mistake that could’ve been the difference between three points and one for Liverpool. There’s still been no explanation for it.  And I’m yet to see outrage online like there was when the referee made a mistake in the game between the Reds and Nottingham Forest in March. 

Are people now numb to errors in Liverpool games?

But these incidents are just the latest in a long line of monumental errors in games involving Liverpool this season. People just seem to be numb to it now.  

There was the Jeremy Doku foul on Mac Allister in the draw with Manchester City. Had Liverpool been given a penalty and had it been scored, the momentum could’ve altered the title race. We’ll never know, but every single point matters. City escaped with one when, had the rules been followed, it might’ve been none. 

Hearing the VAR audio from that decision makes it even more frustrating as what they are talking about just doesn’t tally with what is happening on screen. But we’re just supposed to accept their decision and move on because the PGMOL are beyond reproach. 

Jeremy Doku of Man City has admitted his challenge was risky against Liverpool.

The Martin Odegaard handball versus Liverpool was proven to be an officiating error.  It should’ve been given as a penalty because the Arsenal skipper had his arms out and he moved an outstretched hand towards the ball. He wasn’t propping himself up as some people originally tried to claim. 

Again,  there are no guarantees that the penalty will be converted and it doesn’t guarantee the outcome of the game but Liverpool had a goalscoring opportunity taken away from them in a top-of-the-table clash.

Had that been given and converted, we don’t know how that would’ve impacted both teams. And we’ll now never know.  

These moments matter in such big games when chances are at a premium and the difference between both teams is marginal. 

Liverpool SHAFTED

Because of all of this, the decision against Spurs has been lost amongst the noise. That tells you how bad the officials have been this season when a goal wrongly chalked off because people weren’t paying attention isn’t dominating every conversation during a title run-in. 

Liverpool have been shafted big-time in four games. They picked up just three points in these games. All it takes is for two of these draws to be wins and the Reds would be right in the mix with three games left to play. 

If there’s one Premier League season that should have an asterisk, it is this one. The officials have determined the likely outcome of this league title.

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