Why Virgil van Dijk's goal for Liverpool was ruled out against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final

  • Liverpool and Chelsea faced off at Wembley on Sunday afternoon
  • Virgil van Dijk had the ball in the net in the second half
  • VAR disallowed the goal for a subjective offside decision

Virgil van Dijk thought he had given Liverpool the lead
Virgil van Dijk thought he had given Liverpool the lead / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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If Mauricio Pochettino was "pro-VAR" before Sunday's Carabao Cup final, he may be one of the country's fiercest cheerleaders of the technology after the showpiece event.

The Chelsea boss had focussed on the match officials for the Wembley final against Liverpool ahead of the fixture, warning against any subconscious bias towards his opposite number Jurgen Klopp during his farewell tour.

Liverpool certainly didn't receive any favourable treatment from the referees, with Klopp voicing his fervent disapproval of Moises Caicedo's challenge on Ryan Gravenberch in the first half which forced the Dutchman off on a stretcher.

Klopp was left more confused than aggrieved when Virgil van Dijk had what he thought was the opening goal ruled out midway through the second period.

Here's why Liverpool's celebrations were cut short on Sunday.


Why was Virgil van Dijk's goal for Liverpool ruled out against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final?

Van Dijk lined up opposite Chelsea captain Ben Chilwell at kick-off but perhaps didn't expect to be nose to nose - or rather, nose to chin - with the considerably smaller skipper at an attacking set piece.

Nevertheless, this was the position in which Liverpool's towering centre-back found himself shortly after the hour mark. Despite Chilwell's best efforts, Van Dijk rose to thump a commanding header beyond the outstretched dive of a helpless Djordje Petrovic.

While Van Dijk wheeled away into the corner, VAR John Brooks cast his eye back over the footage.

Unsurprisingly, it was not part of Chelsea's plan to have Chilwell directly up against Van Dijk. Levi Colwill had been assigned to mark the 6'4 behemoth but was cannily blocked by Wataru Endo. This was the offence that Brooks flagged to on-pitch official Chris Kavanagh as he was directed to Wembley's touchline monitor.

Van Dijk had timed his run perfectly but Endo was stood in an offside position when Andy Robertson arced in his dead-ball delivery. Even though the Japan international did not touch the ball, or even move, he was judged to have interfered with play by blocking Colwill's path.

Law 11 in the FA handbook defines "interfering with an opponent" as "making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball". Brooks and Kavanagh agreed that the indiscretion was clear enough to retroactively intervene.


Reaction to Virgil van Dijk's disallowed goal in Carabao Cup final

Ultimately, these types of offsides are subjective decisions and up to the officials to judge how clear any impact is. Unsurprisingly, fans of a Liverpool persuasion were outraged.

However, it wasn't universally upheld as an abhorrent decision.

One can be sure that Pochettino was very much "pro-VAR" at that moment.


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