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Furious Paul Merson told to ‘calm down’ live on air after ‘blowing up’ on Mike Dean over Liverpool VAR explanation

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Liverpool forward Luis Diaz saw his goal ruled out during last weekend’s Premier League loss at Tottenham Hotspur

Paul Merson and Mike Dean were this afternoon involved in a heated debate live on television over Luis Diaz’s disallowed goal during Liverpool’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.

Although one week on from this incident, the conversation over VAR and how costly mistakes are continuing to be made is not going anywhere.

Liverpool were quick to release a statement after their 2-1 loss in the capital demanding explanations over why Diaz’s goal could possibly have been ruled out and other Premier League managers have since expressed their dismay at the situation when challenged on the topic.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou has admitted he would he glad to see VAR ditched altogether, though this scenario seems somewhat unlikely given the financial effort that has gone into implementing video technology in football.

Asked to provide his view on where VAR goes from here and how it can improve, ex-Premier League referee Mike Dean told Sky Sports News: “It’s an ongoing process. They always have stuff emailed to go through, certain clips where they have to press a button of offside or onside. They are always doing online training. They have been in again this week doing certain things to try and get the communication better.

“The way forward? I don’t know. Do you get ex-players in? For me, no. If you go and get players in, half of them don’t know the laws of the game as you can tell by what you’ve [Merson] just said about restarting the game for the sake of it.”

Dean’s response prompted a furious reaction from one-time Arsenal midfielder Merson, who was even told to calm down in the Sky studio, who responded: “For the sake of it? What do you mean the sake of it? You are playing Liverpool against Tottenham, one of the biggest games and you’re saying ‘for the sake of it’. There is no law, no one is going to die so stop the game! You’re all scared and ‘I’m going to get in trouble’. Stop the game and then take the circumstances. Seriously! Typical, not played the game.”

Dean then bit back: “It’s the law, mate. That is the law. You can’t change the law. Simple as. I am staying nice and calm because I know you cannot change the law, but if he wants to blow up like a bottle of pop that is fine by me.”

The IFAB (International Football Association Board) rules on VAR state play cannot be brought back in a case like Diaz’s goal once the referee has signalled for play to resume.. Rule 10 states: “If play has stopped and been restarted, the referee may not undertake a ‘review’ except for a case of mistaken identity or for a potential sending-off offence relating to violent conduct, spitting, biting or extremely offensive, insulting and/or abusive action(s).”

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