Liverpool legend John Aldridge has accused VAR official David Coote of being the big villain of the story that looks set to have ended Virgil van Dijk’s season.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford came under-fire from Reds fans after his lunge on Van Dijk ended with the Dutch defender suffering an ACL injury, yet it was the role of Coote that infuriated Aldridge.
Speaking to sundayworld.com, the former Reds frontman suggested Pickford should have been sent off. But he also thought the decision to keep him on the field in game that finished 2-2 was an unforgivable mistake.
“The best referee in the Premier League was made to look like a fool by VAR man Coote and there is no excuse for him not asking Michael Oliver to look at the replay on that challenge,” said Aldridge.
“I don’t think Pickford was malicious in that challenge as he is a keeper who makes a lot of mistakes and appears to panic at moments like that. It was a clumsy challenge rather than a reckless, but everyone agrees it was worthy of a red card.
“The idea that the VAR official was too distracted by the tight offside decision to see the challenge on Van Dijk is a joke and this needs to be a moment when we look at who is in charge of the VAR decisions.
“Maybe we need to get more experienced referees in because Coote has a history of missing big calls and now he has missed another massive one.
“He was in charge of the Man United v Liverpool game last season and missed a clear foul on Divock Origi in the build-up to the United goal and was also at fault for missing a horrible challenge in the Chelsea v Spurs game last season.
“There is no excuse when you can see these incidents from so many angles and while VAR is useful for some aspects of the game, there is a huge problem if the technology is not used in the right manner.”
Richarlison deserves more than three matches
Aldridge also laid into Everton forward Richarlison for his wild challenge on Thiago that resulted in a straight red card.
“That tackle was disgraceful, there is no other word for it,” Aldridge added. “He has gone over the top of the ball and that is the kind of tackle that can end a career.
“Thiago is 29 and if he breaks his leg badly there, he might struggle to get back to his best. So the red card as not enough for Richarlison.
“That should not be a three-game ban, it needs to be much more than and if Thiago has got away with it, he is very lucky.”