Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Mohamed Salah no fan of VAR but says it will result in 'more penalties for me, you will see that'

The Liverpool forward says he does not like the technology and that it should only be used to protect players from dangerous tackles

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah says he is not a fan of VAR which is making its debut in the Premier League this season. Reuters
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah says he is not a fan of VAR which is making its debut in the Premier League this season. Reuters

Mohamed Salah says he is no fan of VAR, the technology making its debut in the Premier League this season that has already caused plenty of consternation among managers, players and fans.

The Liverpool forward is the latest dissenting voice over the use of VAR in England's top tier, joining the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Pep Guardiola, Nuno Espirito Santo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose criticisms range from perceived bad calls against their respective teams to the amount of time officials take to make a decision.

The Premier League is using VAR for the first time this season following its European counterparts such as Spain's La Liga, while the technology has been widely used in the Champions League as well as the 2018 World Cup in Russia and this year's Women's World Cup in France.

In an interview with CNN, Salah said VAR takes the element of chance out of football and said it should only be used to adjudicate on dangerous tackles.

"I don't like it ... that's my answer, always. I don't like it," the Egyptian said.

"I love football how it is. It's like that with the mistakes of the referee, with the aggression from the player sometimes.

"It's OK sometimes to protect the players from dangerous play. But OK, that's it, in my opinion, that could be the only reason that happened, just to protect the players.

"But for me, I accepted the football with the mistakes of the referee, mistakes of the player, I don't know, whatever. That's how the football gets more excited."

The 2019/20 season is only two weeks old but has provoked a host of talking points. On Saturday, Manchester City manager Guardiola bemoaned the inconsistent use of the technology after his side were denied a late winner against Tottenham Hotspur after the Video Assistant Referee ruled that the match referee had missed a handball by Aymeric Laporte in the buildup to Gabriel Jesus' goal. Earlier, City were denied what looked a clear penalty when Spurs winger Erik Lamela hauled down City midfielder Rodri in the area.

Fans wait while a possible goal by Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus is checked by VAR during the match against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The goal was eventually ruled out for a handball. AP Photo
Fans wait while a possible goal by Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus is checked by VAR during the match against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The goal was eventually ruled out for a handball. AP Photo

On Monday, Wolves manager Nuno waded into the row when he said VAR was killing the game's passion after play was held up for nearly two minutes while Ruben Neves' equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United was checked following a possible offside.

"What I'm afraid is we will be afraid to celebrate the goal," he said following the match. "This energy at Molineux, the sound, this atmosphere, you cannot lose it. They have to find a solution for it, please do it."

On Monday, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's rule-making body, called for patience from managers, players and fans as VAR beds in.

While not a fan of VAR, Salah benefited greatly from it in last season's Champions League final when Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the first minute after Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko was judged to have handled in the area.

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Mohamed Salah helps Liverpool win Champions League

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Salah scored the resulting spot kick to set Liverpool on their way to a 2-0 win in Madrid to lift their sixth European Cup.

The former Chelsea and Basel forward had to defend himself from claims of diving last season, and he said he expected to see more decisions go in his favour through VAR.

"More penalties for me, you will see that," he said.

Salah's form has been nothing short of sensational since moving to Anfield from Roma in June 2017. The Egypt international scored a record 44 goals in his debut campaign and followed that up with 27 in all competitions last term. His 22 league goals saw him share the Golden Boot with Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Liverpool have made a winning start to their Premier League campaign, with Salah on target in the 4-1 win over Norwich City on the opening day before the Reds chalked up a 2-1 win away to Southampton on Saturday.

The Merseysiders last won the league in 1990 and missed out on the title last season by a single point to Manchester City.

Asked what Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's message was to the players this season, Salah said: "Keep working hard and if you want to win another thing you have to work harder than maybe you did in the last season and you have to really be humble, and OK, Champions League is over. It was last year, so forget it. Fight for the new trophies again this season."

Updated: August 21, 2019 01:21 PM

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