In a 50:50 challenge with Ryan Christie of Bournemouth, which showed the Liverpool midfielder’s instep make contact with his opponent’s ankle as the two simultaneously elevated their feet to make a play for the ball, Liverpool today filed a formal appeal of Alexis Mac Allister’s dismissal.
Despite the overwhelming opinion of experts and observers that the challenge was only deserving of a yellow card, referee Thomas Bramall didn’t see it that way during the game, and VAR official Paul Tierney—who has a rocky relationship with manager Jürgen Klopp—decided to uphold it.
Given that the same clear and obvious criterion is supposed to apply to any red card appeals, the VAR judgment indicated that Bramall’s decision was, if not right, at least not clearly and obviously wrong. As a result, we won’t be holding our breath in hopes that anything approximating justice would be served in this case.
Theoretically, Mac Allister’s red card was for aggressive behavior rather than a so-called professional foul, like a cynical challenge by the last defender back would be, and as a result, he may be facing a three-match suspension for a challenge that no one in attendance at the time believed was red.
In response to a question about the incident after the game, Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola remarked, “In real life, it did not appear like a red card,” which won’t give Liverpool, Klopp, or Mac Allister much solace if Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) confirm the verdict as most expect.