Ex-ref reveals VAR conversation that allowed controversial Liverpool v Newcastle decision to stand

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Liverpool were awarded an 85th-minute penalty when Diogo Jota was judged to have been brought down by Martin Dubravka

Mike Dean has backed referee Anthony Taylor and VAR after Liverpool received a controversial penalty in their 4-2 win over Newcastle United.

With four minutes remaining, the Magpies were chasing an unlikely equaliser having been pinned back for most of the game. Sven Botman’s header offered a glimmer of hope for Newcastle but any dreams of a comeback were quickly squashed when Taylor pointed to the spot.

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Jota had broken through on goal and rounded Martin Dubravka, appearing to have the goal at his mercy. Instead of tapping into an empty net, the Liverpool forward hit the deck and Taylor immediately gave a penalty - Liverpool’s second of the game.

Toon supporters were incensed as TV replays showed minimal impact from Dubravka, with Jota also hitting the decks a few moments after contact was made. Eddie Howe was just as furious post-match, referencing a penalty appeal involving Sean Longstaff which had been rejected moments earlier.

“We're disappointed with the way we defended,” he told reporters. “I didn't think the second one was a penalty. And I did think Sean Longstaff's one before that was.

"It shouldn't be given. Martin has pulled his hand away. He's had two steps before going down. For me, it's not a penalty. Even with the first one the contact was so minimal. We feel hard done by."

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But former referee Dean - who was on co-commentary on Sky Sports - defended the dubious decision as he revealed some VAR insight. The 55-year-old said live on Sky Sports that, because Dubravka made contact, the call did not meet the threshold needed to overrule the on-field referee.

“I think we’ve heard Stuart Attwell just then on VAR, well we have anyway,” Dean said. “There’s clear contact by the left elbow of Dubravka on the foot of Jota. So, once he’s given the penalty it is hard to overturn.”

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