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Virgil van Dijk gets away with one! Why VAR denied Chelsea a penalty against Liverpool despite Reds’ captain seeming to trip Conor Gallagher – explained

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Virgil van Dijk was fortunate not to give away a penalty against Chelsea on Wednesday, after the Liverpool captain appeared to trip Conor Gallagher.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The Reds made a dominant start to Jurgen Klopp’s first home league match since his shock exit announcement, but it was Chelsea who managed a sight of goal when Gallagher was played in by Raheem Sterling. The Blues midfielder went down under a challenge from Van Dijk but no penalty was awarded by Paul Tierney, while the VAR also opted not to overturn the decision.

THE EXPLANATION

Gallagher went down after his right right appeared to make contact with Van Dijk’s right knee. However, the Chelsea man was falling slightly before the Dutchman made contact, with referee Tierney not deeming it enough contact to award the penalty. The decision was not considered enough of an error for John Brooks to intervene as VAR and so Tierney’s original decision stood.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE

The chance was a rare sight of goal for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who struggled from practically the first minute at a raucous Anfield. Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez were dominated by Liverpool’s energetic midfield and Ben Chilwell was often careless in possession, with the home side’s pressure paying off when Diogo Jota broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute. The Portuguese latched onto a pass from Conor Bradley before slaloming between Chelsea’s lacklustre centre-backs and slotting past Djordje Petrovic.

Bradley then got himself his first-ever Liverpool goal with a brilliant finish, putting Klopp’s side in a dominant position before half-time.

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WHAT NEXT?

A win for Liverpool would restore their five-point lead at the Premier League summit, while defeat for Pochettino and Chelsea would see them drop back down to tenth and slightly ramp up the pressure on the Argentine.

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