Why was Virgil van Dijk's goal disallowed?

Virgil van Dijk appeared to open the scoring for Liverpool in the second half of the Carabao Cup final, only for the goal to be disallowed.

The Reds' skipper powered home a header from an Andy Robertson free kick from deep, easily outmuscling Chelsea captain Ben Chilwell and leaving Dorde Petrovic stranded.

The goal provoked scenes of jubilation from the travelling Liverpool fans, only to turn to dismay as referee Chris Kavanagh ruled the goal out after being prompted to check again on the monitor by the VAR team.

Why was Van Dijk's goal disallowed?

Confusion reigned as Van Dijk's seemingly fine goal was ruled out, with fans left scratching their heads over the decision.

The on-screen reason for the VAR check was "possible offside" with the Reds' No. 3 Wataru Endo the man in question.

Chelsea v Liverpool, London, UK - 25 Feb 2024 A goal by Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool is ruled out by VAR during the EFL Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, London on 25 February 2024 London Wembley Stadium London England Copyright: xMicahxCrook/PPAUKx PPA-092166

Endo was in an offside position when the free kick was taken, but appeared to have little impact (if any) on the set play.

However, the Japan captain was seemingly adjudged to have interfered with an opponents run towards the play, potentially stopping Levi Colwill from attempting to challenge Van Dijk for the ball.

As per IFAB laws on offsides, it is an offside offence if:

"A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by:

  • preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
  • challenging an opponent for the ball or
  • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or
  • making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

"A player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball; if the player moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent's progress (e.g blocks the opponent) the offence should be penalised under Law 12."

That, however, would seem a particular harsh interpretation of events when face with what actually happened.

Fans of all colours reacted as you might expect to another VAR madness:

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