Martin Atkinson, one of the Premier League’s most experienced officials, ran the rule over Manchester United vs Liverpool on Sunday

On a big weekend of controversial decisions and VAR again in the spotlight, here’s Dermot Gallagher’s verdict on all the big calls.

From controversial goals, penalties not given and even VAR signs malfunctioning, it’s been an eventful weekend for Premier League referees.

So here’s how former official Dermot Gallagher sees it, as he runs the rule over the biggest moments from the latest round of fixtures.

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United’s draw against Liverpool in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Divock Origi goes down under a challenge from Victor Lindelof in his own half. Manchester United pick up the loose ball, counter and score the opening goal through Marcus Rashford. A VAR review agrees with the referee’s decision to allow the goal.

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Foul, but VAR right not to overrule.

DERMOT SAYS: “What I need to explain is that this isn’t a VAR decision, it’s Martin Atkinson’s decision. When it goes in the net, VAR asks whether it was offside, no, was there a handball, no, was there a foul in the build-up – and the referee is the closest person to it.

Victor Lindelof’s challenge on Divock Origi was waved away by Martin Atkinson

“He says no, there was a vote this morning with 50,000 people voting, about half said yes, half said no, so the VAR can’t call it clear and obvious and go against the referee. I did think it was a foul, though.

“Martin waved it away, and once he does that it’s out of the VAR’s hands. It’s such a subjective decision, such a controversial decision, someone says yes, someone says no, they can’t go with it.”

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INCIDENT: The ball hits Sadio Mane’s arm moments before he slots in an equaliser moments before half-time. The goal is disallowed following another VAR review.

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: “It certainly proves VAR works, when that happens and when you see the first images, I thought Lindelof was appealing for a foul, and there’s no way it’s a foul.

“When you see the replay, you see it does strike Mane’s arm which Martin couldn’t see. The VAR has picked it up, under the new criteria the minute that strikes his hand it’s mandatory to give a free-kick.”

INCIDENT: Dele Alli scores a late equaliser after appearing to control the ball with his upper arm. After a lengthy VAR review, the goal is given – but it is shown as having been disallowed on the screens at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.


Dele Alli scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw Watford but confusion surrounded it as a VAR review awarded the goal on the field but disallowed it on the big screen

Dele Alli scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw Watford but confusion surrounded it as a VAR review awarded the goal on the field but disallowed it on the big screen

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision – no handball.

DERMOT SAYS: “I think it’s a goal, the top of his shoulder. I worked on the premise that it’s from the seam downwards. I think he’s taken it on his chest, his arm’s out which may give you that image.

“It’s a carbon copy of the one that Fred blocked in the Manchester United game. Neither are handball.

“The screen was the people who put the graphics up at the ground. VAR takes enough hassle without being blamed for that too!”

INCIDENT: Jan Vertonghen makes a challenge on Gerard Deulofeu.

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Wrong decision, penalty.

DERMOT SAYS: “It’s a penalty. The ball’s the clue, at no point does Vertonghen get it. This is one I think they will reflect on when they meet up, asking why they didn’t give it and work out how you’re going to progress forward.

“If that happens next week, I think you’re duty-bound to give a penalty.”

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win against Brighton in the Premier League

INCIDENT: Aston Villa have Connor Hourihane’s goal ruled out for a foul by Wesley on Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan, following a VAR review.

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: “The problem was the referee has Wesley between him and the goalkeeper. He can’t see his arm across him, but he does have his arm across him. The VAR does see it, feeds back to them asking has he caught him, and it’s a foul.

“He does get the ball, but it’s a foul on the goalkeeper.”

Burnley’s Chris Wood thought he’d grabbed a late equaliser against Leicester but his 80th minute strike was ruled out by VAR for a trip on Jonny Evans

INCIDENT: Chris Wood scores an equaliser 10 minutes from time at the King Power Stadium. But a VAR review disallows the goal for a foul on Jonny Evans.

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Correct decision.

DERMOT SAYS: “I think the key thing here is that the referee doesn’t see him clip his heels, which I think he did. Jon Moss doesn’t see it and gives a goal, but when it’s reviewed they see it. It’s relayed to the referee that he’s clipped his heel, you didn’t see it, so you give a foul.”

Wilfried Zaha’s challenge on Kevin De Bruyne went unpunished

INCIDENT: Wilfried Zaha makes contact with Kevin De Bruyne inside the Crystal Palace box. Anthony Taylor does not give a penalty, and a VAR review sides with the referee.

DERMOT’S VERDICT: Wrong decision, penalty.

DERMOT SAYS: “I thought this was a penalty, he’s barged into him and caught him with his foot as well. But the referee didn’t, and VAR didn’t.”