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Howard Webb Weighs In on Penalty Controversy Over Challenge in Manchester City vs Liverpool

Howard Webb (Via Champions League/Twitter)

Appearing on the latest edition of *Match Officials Mic’d Up*, Howard Webb stated that it was correct for VAR not to intervene and overturn Michael Oliver’s decision not to award a penalty for Jeremy Doku’s challenge on Alexis Mac Allister near the end of the 1-1 draw at Anfield on March 10.

The retired official, now head of the refereeing body, emphasized that the decision did not contain a significant enough error to warrant VAR intervention. He noted that the same would apply if the penalty had been given by the on-field referee.

Webb explained: “It’s one of those…if the referee gives it on the field, it would have been a ‘check complete’ by the VAR. Equally, having not given it, it’s also ‘check complete’. You hear Michael Oliver say the ball is in between two players going together.

Manchester City (Via Man City/Twitter)

The ball is too low to head. Doku lifts his foot to play the ball, and he does make contact on the ball. And yes, we know there’s some contact on Mac Allister as well. Mac Allister comes into him. Mac Allister is not really playing the ball either. So, I understand why it’s split opinion.

“The VAR stays out of it. I think that is what we would expect. The VAR looks at it and doesn’t see a ‘clear and obvious’ situation.

You see something that’s pretty subjective and therefore stays out of it, and the feedback we’ve had from people within the game is that this is a pretty subjective situation. It’s split opinion. So on that basis, the VAR, working to that high threshold kind of followed the right course in not getting involved.”

Manchester City vs Liverpool (Via Man City/Twitter)

Mac Allister had already converted from the spot early in the second half when Darwin Nunez was brought down by Ederson, canceling out John Stones’ first-half goal.

But the Argentine told afterward that he felt he was denied a “clear penalty” when he was struck in the chest by Doku’s boot. “I think the ref did a very good job throughout the game, but I think he made a mistake in the last decision,” Mac Allister added.

Nothing changes for Liverpool or Manchester City. They remain separated by just a single point in the Premier League table, with Arsenal narrowly ahead of the third-place Reds on goal difference.

Both clubs also remain in the hunt for European silverware, with City set to face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals next month and Liverpool braced for Atalanta in the Europa League last eight.

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