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HomeTop LeaguesPremier LeagueRefereeing analyst Dermot Gallagher addresses Martin Odegaard's 'handball' against Liverpool

Refereeing analyst Dermot Gallagher addresses Martin Odegaard’s ‘handball’ against Liverpool

Sky Sports refereeing analyst Dermot Gallagher has addressed Jurgen Klopp’s concerns regarding the Martin Odegaard ‘handball’ incident in the Liverpool vs. Arsenal match.

During Anfield’s 1-1 draw, Odegaard handled the ball inside the box, preventing Mohamed Salah from getting past him. Despite appeals from Liverpool players, referee Chris Kavanagh did not award a penalty, and a subsequent VAR review upheld the decision.

Klopp expressed his frustration with the decision and sought an explanation post-match, specifically from Sky Sports analyst Gallagher. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) clarified that Odegaard avoided punishment because his arm was not moving towards the ball but rather to his body.

Dermot Gallagher deems the Odegaard situation a penalty

Nevertheless, former referee Gallagher sided with Klopp, concurring that the Arsenal skipper should have been penalized for the handball.

“I do agree (that a penalty should have been awarded),” Gallagher said.

“When I first saw it, I thought he was slipping. I can understand the referee on the pitch not giving it. The VAR felt that, with the subjective nature of handball, he thinks he is slipping and his arm is coming in. If you see that last picture, it looks as though he moves towards the ball, and I think the more acceptable decision would have been a penalty. I could hear them speaking. I heard him say back to Chris Kavanagh that, ‘he has slipped and his arm is coming in towards his body, and he is making himself smaller’.”

Despite the controversy, Liverpool secured a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, with Salah equalizing after Gabriel’s fourth-minute opener. The penalty decision could have had a significant impact on the title race dynamics. If the Reds had successfully converted the penalty and won the match, they would have topped the standings, holding a two-point lead over Arsenal.

As the Premier League continues during the festive period, Liverpool is scheduled to face Burnley on Boxing Day, while Arsenal will welcome West Ham two days later at the Emirates.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.


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