West Brom dumped Liverpool out of the FA Cup after their chaotic 3-2 win at Anfield in the fourth round was dominated by VAR calls.
Liverpool took the lead through Roberto Firmino’s deft lob from a rebound (6), but West Brom were level just a minute later as Jay Rodriguez slammed home from 18 yards (7).
Rodriguez made it three goals in six minutes, finishing off from close range from Kieran Gibbs’ cross (11), before VAR intervened twice in quick succession.
Craig Dawson’s header was correctly ruled out for a Gareth Barry offside one end, before Liverpool were awarded a penalty for Grzegorz Krychowiak’s tug on Mo Salah, with Craig Pawson going to the pitchside VAR screen for the first time in English football. Firmino stepped up, but hit the bar with his penalty.
It was 3-1 to West Brom in first-half stoppage time as Joel Matip inadvertently turned home Dawson’s angled effort (45+2), and though Salah halved the deficit with a low finish with 12 minutes remaining, Liverpool could not force a replay.
The draw for the fifth round will be made on Monday evening.
Liverpool opened the scoring after just six minutes through Firmino, who produced a delightful chip over Ben Foster from 20 yards after the West Brom goalkeeper had kept out Salah’s low effort.
But West Brom were instantly level as Rodriguez found a yard just inside the box from Chris Brunt’s square pass and produced a fierce effort into the top right corner.
Rodriguez’s second added to a frenzied opening at Anfield, tapping home from eight yards from Gibbs’ centre as West Brom easily split open the Liverpool defence twice again.
Liverpool’s defensive frailties were highlighted once more just minutes later as Dawson beat Firmino to the ball and headed home from a corner, but referee Pawson went to VAR and correctly found that Barry was in an offside position and interfering with Simon Mignolet.
There was further VAR controversy in the other box as Krychowiak tugged Salah in the penalty area, with Pawson going to the VAR pitchside screen to give a penalty. Three minutes after the original call, Firmino hit the bar from the spot.
Liverpool’s gaping defence then allowed Dawson to turn an effort goalwards before the break, with Matip making a hash of his clearance as the ball fell into the far corner. Pawson went to VAR again after an offside hint, but correctly allowed the goal to stand.
Jurgen Klopp made a triple change on 65 minutes in an attempt to save the game, bringing on Danny Ings, Jordan Henderson and James Milner, and it was Ings who was soon forcing Foster into a good save with an effort from 15 yards.
Salah made it 3-2 with a fine low finish after Firmino had laid the ball off from 15 yards to the right of the penalty area, but Liverpool could not make their pressure tell in the closing stages.