THE table never lies.
Liverpool have been head and shoulders apart all season — but Jurgen Klopp’s men got two huge VAR calls on Sunday.
Both correct, under the Laws, although they left Wolves furious. Decisions that, last season, would have been unchanged.
And without VAR over-ruling calls made on the field, there would be a title race still, not a Liverpool procession.
The Anfield outfit would have been top. But by just six points, not 13.
SunSport have analysed all 58 decisions changed by the men in the booth.
Liverpool have had four calls in their favour, with two against.
Manchester City have also had four VAR overturns for them, with three against.
Brighton have seen the most positive changes, with seven for them and two against, while Wolves have been the most penalised by VAR.
The Molineux men have not had a single decision changed to their benefit but have seen six the other way.
But it is as much about the matches in which those calls take place.
Spurs have a net “balance” of VAR changes of just plus one. Yet without VAR, they would have been 12th — not sixth — and five points worse off.
As our “no VAR Table” shows, things might have been very different at both ends of the Prem. Especially for Liverpool.
Chelsea thought they had cancelled out Trent Alexander-Arnold’s opener when Cesar Azpilicueta netted at Stamford Bridge in September, only for VAR to rule Mason Mount offside in the build-up.
In November, nobody spotted Dejan Lovren being shoved by Jordan Ayew at Crystal Palace but James Tomkins’ strike was ruled out. Liverpool won it late.
And then there was Sunday.
According to the Laws and the protocols drafted by the Law-making International FA Board, VAR official Simon Hooper was spot on.
Adam Lallana’s shoulder is not his arm, so Hooper correctly informed Anthony Taylor his initial handball call was wrong.
Wolves were moaning at an apparent handling offence by Virgil van Dijk before the goal, and indeed it looked as if Taylor missed it.
But under Ifab rulings, it became irrelevant once both Lallana and Mane had touched the ball.
As former Prem ref Dermot Gallagher explained on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch”: “The consideration was, ‘Has the player, Mane, handled the ball in? No. Has it been handled to him by Lallana? No’.
“They are the two players who influenced the move, the scorer or the player who assists, so Van Dijk was too far back.”
Wolves’ fury was exacerbated by the decision to rule out Pedro Neto’s subsequent “equaliser” for a toe-nail offside call against Jonny in the build-up — one of FIVE contentious offside calls over the weekend that saw goals wiped out.
It started with Dan Burn’s strike for Brighton against Bournemouth, and was followed by the call against Palace’s Wilf Zaha before he set up Max Meyer at Southampton.
Norwich’s Teemu Pukki suffered in the home draw with Spurs, before Lys Mousset was denied by Stockley Park after seemingly putting Sheffield United in front at Manchester City.
The problems have not been helped by the lines drawn on to the TV pictures.
Yet the positions of the players is determined by the latest 3D geometry.
The lines are an illustration of what the technology has already assessed, putting a 2D projection on to a 3D reality.
Gallagher added: “The fans are upset and I know that.
“But under VAR there is zero tolerance. Any part of the body that can score is offside, even if it’s about fractions.
“Nobody ever said the system would be 100 per cent but it is the best available system — and all 20 clubs signed up for it.”
What is clear is that the offside Laws must be looked at again.
We have bolted 21st Century technology on to Laws largely written in the 19th Century. It was never meant to be that precise.
It puts pressure on Fifa’s new development head, Arsene Wenger, to sort things out, with the key date the annual meeting of Ifab in Belfast on February 29.
That is when new Laws for next season can be agreed.
While fans might demand change, nothing can be altered for now.
Even if the table does lie.