It was one of many decisions Jurgen Klopp couldn’t quite get his head around on Sunday afternoon.
And it was one that even now is causing heated debate in the aftermath of Liverpool’s hectic 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
The controversial award of Spurs’ first penalty came after a lengthy consultation between referee Jon Moss and assistant Eddie Smart.
Liverpool argued Harry Kane was in an offside position when he picked up Dele Alli’s throughball before tumbling to the ground over the onrushing Loris Karius.
“I don’t know what they discussed this time,” said Klopp of the officials. “I would be really interested what the referee and assistant were saying.”
Now, thanks to the Sky Sports cameras, comes the revelation of what exactly was said.
Moss originally gave the penalty before being called over by assistant Smart.
The referee then consulted via his mic with fourth official Martin Atkinson, who is believed to have watched a replay of the incident on monitors near the dugout in the Main Stand.
The conversation with his assistant is reported to be as follows.
Smart: “All I need to know is, did Lovren (pronounces him Loo-vren throughout) touch the ball?”
Moss: “I don’t know.”
Smart: “If he’s not touched the ball, it is offside, so you’re chalking off the penalty. It has to be offside if Lovren has not touched the ball. I cannot be sure if Lovren touched the ball or not, that is the question I’m asking.”
At this point, players from both sides were in the ear of the officials.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen: “He did touch the ball.”
Liverpool’s Emre Can : “He didn’t touch the ball.”
Moss to Smart: “Just talk to me again.”
Smart: “You know what I’m asking; I need to clarify, has Lovren touched the ball? If he has, it’s a deliberate action and, therefore, it’s a penalty. If he has not, it is offside.”
Moss: “I have no idea whether Lovren touched the ball to be honest with you. Martin (Atkinson), have you got anything from TV?”
The response is then immediate from Moss: “I’m giving the penalty.”
Kane’s penalty was subsequently saved by Karius. Little did we know, though, that the controversy was only just beginning…