A summary of the Liverpool-Tottenham penalty drama

There was plenty of late controversy at Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool played out a 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Here’s all you need to know.

Liverpool and Tottenham played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in the Premier League on Sunday with two late penalties going against Liverpool, the second of which salvaged a point for Spurs. Naturally, there has been plenty of debate on both decisions so here is a summary of controversy so far

What Happened?

Both decisions came in the final few minutes of the match with the first penalty decision involving Harry Kane and Lorius Karius. The play started with Dele Alli playing an incisive pass through the Liverpool defense into the feet of Harry Kane. The English international attempted to go around the Liverpool keeper, Loris Karius, before being tripped up by the German.

Replays showed that not only was there minimum contact on Kane, but the 24-year-old was also offside when Alli played him in. Crucially, however, the ball appears to have taken a deflection off Dejan Lovren before reaching Kane.

According to the rules, if a player is given the ball in an offside position by an opposing player, he’s onside. The deflection was spotted by the linesman, Eddie Smart, who alerted the match referee that Kane was offside and asked if he had also seen the ball deflect off the Liverpool defender. After a short discussion, John Moss awarded the penalty and Kane missed the resulting spot kick. Justice served in the eyes of the Liverpool faithful.

The Erik Lamela penalty call came in the final minutes of stoppage time with Liverpool leading 2-1. Tottenham had a throw outside the penalty area and opted to throw it long in search of an equalizer.

The ball took a bounce off a Spurs player’s head and came to Virgil van Dijk. As the Dutch defender went kick the ball away, Lamela swooped in front of him and went to ground like he had been kicked in the back. The ball was eventually cleared and it seemed play would continue until Smart was once again involved and called play back for the penalty which Kane converted to earn Spurs a point. The full-time whistle blew soon after, bringing a brilliant encounter to an end.

What do the players think?

Naturally, both parties have different views on the two decisions. The man at the center of the second penalty, van Dijk, was quite vocal in the post match press conference claiming that both Kane and Lamela dived (although Loris Karius admitted to making contact with Kane).

The Dutch International said Kane clearly dived and he was also offside:

“I think it’s a dive. You see him (Kane) diving clearly and no-one is talking about it but I think it is a dive. There is a lot of discussion about whether it is offside, yes or no, but I think it was offside aswell.”

On the second penalty call, van Dijk insisted that Lamela was looking for contact:

“I saw him coming in the end and I try and hold my leg in, he just pulled his body in front of the ball and he goes down”

Both Kane and Lamela have denied they dived and hailed the referees for their decision making.

What did the managers have to say?

Like their players, both managers had contrasting views on the subject. Jurgen Klopp claimed he would have to pay the biggest fine in world football if he expressed his thoughts at the post match press conference.

The Liverpool coach felt both Kane and Lamela were offside, and added that the linesman wanted to be center of attention 

Mauricio Pochettino flat out denied any claims of diving and insisted both incidents were clear penalties.

”Both were a penalty and nothing to say, it is not controversial – it is nothing. Sometimes people complain about the referee, but when they are right it is good to tell everyone.”


Both decisions were analyzed on BBC’s Match of the Day, with the first penalty call receiving more attention. Both Jermain Jenas and Mark Lawrenson felt Kane was offside, despite Lovren’s touch on of the ball.

The second penalty was much more clear cut for the panel, however, with both pundits agreeing the decision was the correct one. Jenas even praised Lamela for such quick thinking to draw the foul.

ESPN held a twitter poll on whether fans believed the second penalty decision should have been given with over half of people saying it wasn’t a penalty. The panel, however, disagreed, with both pundits agreeing that the decision was correct.

Former referee Dermot Gallagher agreed that the Lamela was indeed fouled in the box and hailed Moss and Smart for their teamwork and communications skills.

In the end, there remains a lot of disagreement as to whether the decision was right or wrong, especially on the second penalty call. Let’s remember that we’re currently only talking about whether Van Dijk fouled Lamela, there is still a discussion to be had on whether Lamela was onside in the first place.

After analyzing the first penalty decision, Lawrenson made the point the decision proves how desperately the Premier League needs to implement VAR. This, perhaps, should be the main takeaway from the whole controversy.