Arsenal v Liverpool on Sunday afternoon proved to be a classic, with the hosts eventually running out 3-2 winners in a match that ebbed and flowed throughout.
However, the result arguably turned on two controversial penalty decisions, both against Liverpool. In the first half, with the Gunners 1-0 up thanks to an early strike from Gabriel Martinelli, a penalty claim against fellow Gabriel was disallowed by referee Michael Oliver.
In the incident, Jota’s diagonal effort appeared to be handled by Gabriel inside his own penalty area, with the Arsenal defender having his arm in a high – and therefore unnatural – position.
However, after a VAR review, no penalty was awarded.
Liverpool would eventually equalize through Darwin Nunez, only to go a goal down just before the break after Bukayo Saka tapped in from close range.
The Reds would tie it again in the second period, but the parity didn’t last long.
In the 75th minute, Thiago Alcantara was adjudged to have kicked the calf of Gabriel Jesus inside the Liverpool box as the Brazilian tried to shoot.
On that occasion the spot-kick was awarded, much to the dismay of many Liverpool fans on Twitter.
The main contention for most fans was the fact that Gabriel’s handball was not considered an offense in the first half, despite the Brazilian’s hand being above his head.
One furious Liverpool fan tweeted: “I think I’m done with football! We have more technology in the game than we’ve ever had, yet the referees get it so wrong every time! Hidden handball in the first half, nothing was given. 50 50 ball in the second half, penalty for Arsenal. Terrible refereeing!”
Another added: “Arsenal took the soft penalty and Liverpool denied the obvious.”
I think I’m done with football! We have more technology in the game than we’ve ever had, yet the people in charge get it so wrong every time! Hidden handball in the first half, nothing for granted. 50 50 ball in the second half, penalty for Arsenal. Terrible refereeing! #ARSLIV #LFC
— gsouthy_25 (@gsouthy) October 9, 2022
The decision to award Arsenal the penalty in the second half proved divisive, as many pundits and former players also felt it was not a penalty. This included former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who said on Twitter: “Can’t have this is a penalty. [Thiago’s foul on Jesus].”
— Saber (@sabsipax) October 9, 2022
In the end, Saka headed home from the penalty spot and Arsenal survived an excruciatingly long period of extra time to seal a famous 3-2 win – and three vital points.
The win moves Mikel Arteta’s side back to the top of the Premier League table as they now lead Manchester City by a single point.
Instead, Liverpool now sit in 10th place, 14 points off their early season pace.
It doesn’t get any easier for Jurgen Klopp’s side either, as they face Manchester City next weekend. Remarkably, this is Liverpool’s worst start to a Premier League season in a decade.
Should Liverpool have been awarded a penalty for Gabriel’s handball? Tell us your opinion.