Mark Halsey column: Goals like Roberto Firmino’s vs Aston Villa should be given… offside VAR protocol needs to change

I think the challenge by Liam Cooper on Gabriel Jesus was a serious foul play challenge, and one that endangered the player’s safety with excessive force and brutality. 

Looking at the challenge from the referee’s point of view, from Andre’s [Marriner] position, I think that from where he was it does look like a reckless challenge.

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When you view it from the reverse angle you can clearly see that it endangers the players safety. So, for me, it was a clear and obvious error by Andre Marriner and I believe VAR were correct to get involved and recommend a review for Andre to look at the challenge.

A red card for Liam Cooper was the correct outcome.

On the disallowed Roberto Firmino goal for Liverpool against Aston Villa where Diogo Jota was adjudged to be offside, I think the problem we have is that offside is a matter of fact, but on this occasion, when we are taking so long and looking at so many replays to see if it’s offside, I think we should be giving those as goals.

No one wants to see goals of this nature ruled out.

Mark Halsey

Former Premier League and FIFA referee Mark Halsey is a columnist for

The handball law was changed to the t-shirt line, so anything above that is not going to be penalised as handball. You can score with that part of the arm and the armpit.

I think the sooner we look at law 11 (offside) and get back to being the whole of the arm, from the shoulder down to the fingers as being handball, then we can nullify that as being part of the criteria for offside.

The fans are just as important as anyone else and pay a lot of money to go and watch football, and we need to be seeing these given as goals.

We need to take away the lines. Do we have a time limit here? Twenty, 30 seconds, one or two replays? If you can’t tell after a first or second replay that it’s offside, then it’s a goal.

Use the naked eye and we’ll be seeing a lot of goals given. We need to be looking at this for next season, and we need a change.

It’s good that Arsene Wenger is looking at this Law 11 situation. It’s being tried in China and they’ll be looking to use it in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar… if any part of your body is onside, then you will not be offside.

More Stories Arsene Wenger Diogo Jota Gabriel Jesus Liam Cooper Mark Halsey Roberto Firmino