The contentious handball rule came under fire when Everton defender Michael Keane gave away a crucial penalty against Liverpool during Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, writes the Goodison.News. The incident, in which Luis Diaz’s cross struck Keane’s outstretched forearm, allowed Mohamed Salah to step up to the penalty spot and score the opening goal in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory at Anfield. The penalty decision came after referee Craig Pawson initially awarded a corner kick, with VAR intervention ultimately leading to the penalty being given.
Notably, the opinions on this handball incident were divided, with former footballer Micah Richards expressing an understanding of the call while Gary Lineker suggested the need for a change in the handball rule to prevent such penalties from being awarded.
Speaking on Match of the Day on Saturday, Micah Richards stated, “The penalty with Keane, I’ve been in this position. I don’t like to give it, but his arm is outside his silhouette – it’s the right decision.” Richards, acknowledging the current handball rule, pointed out that Keane’s arm extended beyond the natural silhouette of his body, justifying the referee’s decision.
Gary Lineker, on the other hand, criticized the existing handball rule, saying, “It’s a silly law we’ve got, so you can understand why he’s given it, but they need to do something about that.” Lineker’s perspective highlighted the need for a revision of the handball rule to ensure fair and consistent decisions.
In the midst of various contentious decisions during the match, the penalty awarded to Liverpool for Keane’s handball appeared to be one of the less disputed calls. While Ashley Young’s two yellow cards and the potential sending off of Ibrahima Konaté generated debate, there was little room for disagreement about Keane’s handball. His outstretched arm undeniably prevented a potential goalscoring opportunity for Liverpool, making the penalty decision a clear and justifiable one.