A lot of hot air was generated after the Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion Premier clash recently but I spotted one little goodwill gesture.
A great fuss was made about Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp’s failure to shake the hand of opposing manager, Tony Pulis, and then there was the debated injury to Dejan Lovren. However, I would like to look at the discussion, between the referee Craig Pawson and his assistant referee, after it was thought that West Brom defender Jonas Olasson had scored to take the lead.
Despite the derision by smug pundit Alan Shearer, the first thing a referee does when it seems a goal is scored, is to look at his assistant referee. If the assistant agrees with the goal he will turn and walk purposefully towards the centre line. If however, he disagrees or has a problem with it, he will remain standing still. This leads the referee to go over to his assistant for a discussion. Often, as on this occasion, it will be something to do with offside. The assistant from his position may not be sure who played the ball, was it an offside or onside attacker, or who played the ball through, could it have been a defender? It may be the assistant could see a player standing in an offside position when a ‘goal’ is scored by a team mate but from the touch line doesn’t know whether he had interfered with the goalkeeper’s line of view. The referee from his angle will probably have the answer.
Surely, even if it holds up the game, it is better for such a discussion to take place and get the right decision, as in this case when the ‘goal’ was disallowed. The pleasing aspect of the incident came in the televised post match interview. Olasson was asked his feeling about his disallowed goal; he grinned and admitted, with a rare flash of honesty from a footballer, ‘well I was offside wasn’t I’.