William Saliba caught up in awkward Liverpool mix-up after Arsenal VAR howler

Arsenal claimed a draw against Liverpool in their top-of-the-table Premier League clash but Jurgen Klopp’s team felt they deserved a penalty following a handball shout

William Saliba appeared to suggest that Liverpool should have been awarded a penalty in Saturday’s draw – but the Arsenal defender seemingly thought he was asked about Kai Havertz’s own shout for a spot kick.

First-half goals from Gabriel Magalhaes and Mohamed Salah meant the spoils were shared at Anfield, ensuring the Gunners sit top of the Premier League table at Christmas. Jurgen Klopp’s side had chances to steal all three points and leapfrog their opponents, though.

There was also an early appeal for a penalty when the ball struck the hand of Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard. On-field referee Chris Kavanagh didn’t award a spot-kick, with VAR agreeing with the official, but Saliba appeared to admit his team got away with one. However, it has since emerged that the defender may have been confused over what incident the interviewer was referring to – and is understood to have been discussing a penalty shout involving team-mate Havertz.

Yeah, of course. It was a penalty but I’m not the ref and they have to accept [it],” Saliba told Viaplay when asked if Liverpool deserved a penalty. Odegaard’s incident took place with less than 20 minutes on the clock, with Arsenal leading 1-0 at the time. Liverpool still found a way back into the game as Salah beat David Raya just before the half-hour mark, but they couldn’t find a second.

The closest Liverpool came to a winner was a chance for Trent Alexander-Arnold in the second half. England star Alexander-Arnold got on the end of a Salah pass as his team streamed forward, only to fire his effort against the crossbar.

Alexander-Arnold was asked about the penalty controversy in his post-match interview with Sky Sports. “From a Liverpool perspective that is always going to be seen as a handball,” the right-back said.

The decision didn’t go our way for whatever reason, and that probably gets us another goal if it does. From us, a penalty is probably seen as another goal, but it didn’t go our way.”

Home manager Klopp was also very clear in his assessment of the decision not to award his team a spot-kick. “Yes, I have seen it. I am pretty sure someone will come to explain it to me why it was not a handball but I don’t know how?” he told Sky Sports.

I don’t say that the ref can see it because I don’t know where he was in that moment. But how can a guy in an office see that and not come to the conclusion that maybe, possibly it could be worth the referee having another look?”

Despite only drawing with Arsenal, Liverpool can at least temporarily claim the top spot on Boxing Day if they’re able to take all three points from their trip to Burnley. Mikel Arteta’s Gunners aren’t back in action until December 28, when they welcome West Ham to the Emirates Stadium.

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