There were two big penalty decisions for referee Jon Moss at Anfield on Sunday. He got one right and the other wrong.

On the first one, Harry Kane was clearly in an offside position and should have been flagged by the assistant referee, Edward Smart. Moss talked to Smart who told him he was not sure so the referee gave the penalty.

If Dejan Lovren, the Liverpool defender, had been deliberately trying to clear the ball, he would have been deemed to have been playing Kane onside. In my view, however, Lovren did not play the ball deliberately  if he had been, the ball would have been cleared upfield  so it should have been immediately ruled offside.

Moss was left in the mire by his assistant, who should have put up his flag for offside. The whole procedure looked untidy but Moss was fortunate that Kane’s spot-kick was saved.

That did not conceal the fact that there was generally poor teamwork between Moss and his two assistants, both of whom were frankly poor and below the standard expected at Premier League level.

Moss also had to decide whether Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper, should have been sent off for bringing down Kane. He decided, correctly, that Karius was attempting to play the ball as he fouled Kane so rightly did not show him a red card.

This was actually one of Moss’s better performances and he was correct to award Tottenham their second penalty, from which Kane scored a late equaliser.

Virgil van Dijk, the Liverpool defender, clearly caught Erik Lamela so it was a straightforward decision that the referee got right.

What is beginning to concern me is the way managers come on to the field of play at the end of the match to to either compliment or have a go at the referee. This is too public and should be stopped.

The time to seek clarification over any contentious decisions is 30 minutes after the match, when everyone has calmed down and had a chance to review incidents via television replays.


  1. Hello Mr. Hackett. When I saw the headline I thought ‘finally, another official who will agree with me.’ Of course, it didn’t turn out that way! Full disclosure, I am a Liverpool fan. I’m also a humble USSF referee (up to U19). My comments: in our meetings we often discuss things such as the definition of ‘deliberate’. Suffice it to say that our interpretation doesn’t jibe with yours. We are taught to define deliberate as an intentional playing of the ball, regardless of the outcome. If Lovren extends his leg to block or clear the pass, that is deliberate. If it unfortunately deflects to an opposing player in an offside position, well, that player is no longer offside. So deliberate refers to the action, not its result. (I do think Kane sold the penalty–not enough to make a case for simulation, but hardly enough contact to cause Kane’s flight. Put your right foot down, Harry, and you won’t fall!) As for the second penalty, which was clearly waved off by Moss as it happened, why was Lamela not called for jumping into the opponent? The defender had his eyes entirely on the ball and his back to the opposing player, who proceeded to launch himself in front of the defender, not at all attempting to play the ball. Also, if it was a foul for kicking, why wasn’t van Dijk given a red card? Thanks for your time.

    • Agree with you mate on the first one, here in Australia we are also taught that it doesn’t matter if he shanked his quick, he deliberately tried to clear it, made contact with the ball, so he’s deliberately played it and Kane is now onside!

  2. Dermot Gallagher and PGMOL’s reaction to this offside penalty incident has been really poor in my view. It’s really dangerous for them to defend the decision to this degree, because it has the potential to affect the interpretation of the offside law in the future. This could lead to some really silly incidents where players who seem to be well offside score goals. For example, imagine a free kick where striker is a yard offside, but ball takes a small flick from defender (attempting to head it away) and now the striker is deemed onside and can score. Such an incident I think would not sit well with fans, and PGMOL have paved the way for it to happen. This one they kind of got away with because the penalty was missed and the game was drawn, not lost for Liverpool.

    I totally agree about managers immediately engaging with the referee after the game as well. Think this should be banned, with a fine and then touchline ban for repeated infractions. While I feel managers have the right to have decisions explained to them, as you say, do it in a less public environment and after a cooling off period – interactions with the referee should always be respectful, regardless of how poor you feel the decisions have been. It would help with that respect thing though if refs owned up to their errors instead of using PGMOL as a shield that defends even clear errors such as this.

  3. In supporting your belief that Moss got it wrong on the first penalty call, you indicate that Lovren did not “deliberately play the ball” because if he had “the ball would have been played upfield. In re-reading the IFAB’s modifications to the offside law, however, officials are not supposed to take into account the success or failure of a player who makes a deliberate attempt to play the ball. It is the intent to play the ball that makes it deliberate, not whether he was successful in his attempt.

    With that understanding, and if one believes Lovren deliberately played the ball (as defined by the IFAB), wouldn’t Lovren’s play on the ball, allow a Kane in an offside position to be played onside, and correctly adjudged (later) to be fouled by the GK.

    Thank you very much for your insight.


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