VAR in the spotlight in Liverpool's FA Cup loss to West Brom

LIVERPOOL: The Video Assistant Referee took center-stage during the first half of Liverpool's FA Cup match with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday as it was used three times, including the first on-field review in English football.

"We struggled at the end because we were running out of bodies, and the VAR system was a problem because we lost a player to a hamstring because we were hanging around and waited so long for a decision," West Brom coach Alan Pardew said.

"That's something else we have to worry about, and look at next time we play with that system. Is it going to take away goals and we start getting 0-0 and 1-1 draws? I don't know, it was just weird. We waited so long for the decisions, the stadium was flat and every goal was becoming a sort of mockery with the delayed decision."

The Baggies thought they went 3-1 up at Anfield when Craig Dawson headed past Simon Mignolet from a corner in the 19th minute, but after referee Craig Pawson consulted with VAR Andre Marriner — a process that took just over a minute — the effort was disallowed, due to Gareth Barry having been offside.

Soon after, Liverpool appealed for a penalty after Mohamed Salah went down in the box in the 23rd. This instance saw Pawson watch footage on the pitchside screen before it was deemed Salah had been fouled by Jake Livermore. That was met by West Brom protests, during which Barry was booked, and it was the 27th minute by the time the spot kick was taken by Roberto Firmino, who struck it against the bar.

Pawson was then speaking into his headset once more after the ball went in the Liverpool net again in first-half stoppage time, Dawson's shot going in off Joel Matip.

Matip's own-goal was confirmed, to make it 3-1, following a delay of almost two minutes, with the question having been over whether there had been an offside.

The match finished 3-2.