Jürgen Klopp has alleged that broadcasters ordered Liverpool’s FA Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday to be cut short by six minutes.
Liverpool’s fourth-round defeat by Alan Pardew’s side was frequently interrupted by the referee Craig Pawson’s use of VAR. The match official used the review system on eight separate occasions and, in the first half alone, employed VAR to disallow an Albion goal, award a penalty to Liverpool and allow the visitors’ third goal.
Play was halted for three minutes and 53 seconds for the review of Liverpool’s penalty and Albion also substituted two players because of injury before half-time, yet the fourth official, Jon Moss, showed that only four minutes’ stoppage time was to be added at the end of the first half. Klopp has claimed that decision was taken for television reasons. The tie was broadcast live on BT Sport.
The Liverpool manager said: “What I heard was that the actual extra time in the first half should have been 10 minutes. It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it’s not longer than four minutes. Of course that’s not possible, you can’t cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don’t know what was on afterwards, maybe the news or something. It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say: ‘It’s now a little bit too long.’”
Klopp did not name BT Sport as directly responsible for the reduction and a spokesperson for the company, when contacted by the Guardian, said it had no influence on the amount of time added to a game. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) said on Tuesday that it is the VAR who decides how much should be added because of the reviews and suggested that the message from the fourth official could have been lost in translation.
The laws of the game actually state that the amount of additional time should be decided by the referee and indicated by the fourth official.
Klopp added: “I stepped back [from saying anything on Saturday] because you don’t want to be seen as a bad loser or whatever but that was the situation. I would not have spoken about it but that was the case.
“Every time we discuss something like this it is: ‘Yes, but we take the money from TV.’ That is true but there should be a group of people from television, the Premier League, the Football League and all the clubs sitting together.
“The most important thing is the players and the game. I think a little more common sense would make sense. We deliver a fantastic product and it is not that television will sell it for more money somewhere else. It is a fair deal and, if we talk about it and think about it then, come on, bring everyone together and find a solution.”