Liverpool file formal complaint as Man Utd close in on Champions League place

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Man Utd could seal their place in next season’s Champions League with a point against Chelsea

Manchester United are just one point from confirming their participation in next season’s Champions League as they prepare to host Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday night.

The Red Devils won 1-0 at Bournemouth last weekend to put one foot in the competition after Liverpool were held to a controversial 1-1 draw by Aston Villa.

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The Merseyside club have written to the PGMOL to demand answers over two decisions in the game, as Roberto Firmino scored a late equaliser in his final appearance at Anfield for Liverpool.

Jacob Ramsey had given Unai Emery’s side the lead but two incidents before Firmino’s equaliser caused plenty of controversy and debate.

Liverpool thought they had levelled proceedings when Cody Gakpo found the net from Virgil van Dijk’s pass but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Luis Diaz headed the ball back across goal but Villa defender Ezri Konsa blocked the ball into the path of Van Dijk who set up Gakpo to score. However, the Liverpool defender was in an offside position from Diaz’s header.

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In order for Van Dijk to be ruled onside, Konsa’s block at the ball had to be deemed deliberate. After advice from VAR, the referee overturned the goal after looking at the pitchside monitor, with Konsa’s deflection not deemed an intentional play.

Tyrone Mings also escaped a red card after a high challenge into the chest of Gakpo, which left a visible scar.

Cody Gakpo shows the scars left by Tyrone Mings’ challenge (Photo by PETER POWELL/AFP via Getty Images) Cody Gakpo shows the scars left by Tyrone Mings’ challenge (Photo by PETER POWELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Cody Gakpo shows the scars left by Tyrone Mings’ challenge (Photo by PETER POWELL/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was in the stands for the game after being hit with a touchline ban. He reacted: “I asked the ref why the offside goal was offside, because offside situations should be clear but he explained it to me. He said it was a subjective decision.

“He thinks it is a not deliberate action from the defender, but I think it is. And I think the VAR wasn’t sure. So he maybe thought it’s possible. In the end it’s a subjective decision. You can’t argue with that. He made it and that’s it.”

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Klopp admitted he was surprised to see Mings remain on the pitch.

He added: “I was [surprised]. I am not sure if you saw Cody, but he looks sponsored by a very famous brand [Adidas]. Three massive [marks]. I didn’t see it back. Was it a red card from your point of view? That is the question, I cannot answer that question.

“I was probably too far away from that. I saw Cody only later when he showed it to me. You cannot do that without making a proper foul.”

Former referee Keith Hackett felt both decisions were incorrect.

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“This was a red card challenge by Mings,” he wrote on Twitter before adding: “In my opinion, the goal should not have been ruled out for offside. The opponent made a deliberate play.”

The result means Man United require just one point from their final two games. As they face Chelsea on Thursday and Fulham on Sunday.

Further reports suggest the PGMOL are set to back their officials decision in the game at Anfield and reject Liverpool’s complaint.

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