In the realm of football, they say that what goes around, comes around. The ebb and flow of the season often brings equilibrium to the most decisive moments.
This sentiment echoes through cliches and adages that emphasize the cyclical nature of the game.
Big decisions in football, like life, are often akin to swings and roundabouts.
Sometimes, it feels like the entire world is conspiring against you, and nothing goes your way. Yet, on another occasion, the universe might bestow upon you the favor of a crucial decision.
With the advent of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), there was hope among football enthusiasts that controversial decisions would become a relic of the past.
However, the reality has proven to be quite different. VAR has triggered more debates about referees’ decisions and VAR calls than ever before.
The recent showdown between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium magnified these concerns. Several pivotal decisions were hotly contested. The first decision, in my opinion, left no room for debate. Curtis Jones’ red card for a high tackle on Yves Bissouma was undeniably deserved.
The second decision, however, was marred by controversy. Luis Diaz had a goal disallowed for offside on the field, but VAR mistakenly believed it to be onside, leading to a swift “Check Complete” and allowing the game to continue.
This rule, preventing a reversal of such a mistake, appears rather absurd.
Then came the second red card, handed to Diogo Jota. He received a harsh booking for a slight contact with Destiny Udogie’s foot, resulting in Udogie’s tumble.
Minutes later, Jota foolishly slid in for a foul on the same player, earning him a second yellow and subsequent red card.
While the first booking seemed harsh, some may argue that it was a culmination of fouls that led to the caution.
However, there’s little room for debate that the challenge for which he was booked did not warrant a yellow card.
Liverpool responded with a statement indicating their intention to explore available options for escalation and resolution.
Manager Jurgen Klopp, perhaps, should divert his focus to his club’s disciplinary record, as these two red cards mark the fourth sending-off this season.
Interestingly, last year, Klopp advised then-Spurs caretaker boss Ryan Mason to “worry about other stuff” after a high tackle by Jota went unpunished.
VAR remained silent, and Jota eventually scored the winning goal in a 4-3 victory.
In football, as in life, the cycle continues, and what goes around often comes back around.