By George Overhill

27th Apr, 2023 | 12:40pm

West Ham United: Alan Shearer and Ian Wright dispute Liverpool incident on Match of the Day amid David Moyes fury

Alan Shearer and Ian Wright disagreed over the decision not to award West Ham a late penalty against Liverpool for handball against Thiago.

Late in the 2-1 defeat at the London Stadium on Wednesday the Spanish midfielder lunged for a challenge on Danny Ings in his own box and came down on the ball with his arm, but referee Chris Kavanagh did not give it and VAR agreed, leaving David Moyes incensed.

The Hammers boss told BBC Sport: “I can’t believe it. The biggest thing I can’t believe is they didn’t go and check it. I think it’s completely disrespectful.”

Speaking on Match of the Day on Wednesday night (26 April, 47m 13s) Gary Lineker said: “Mr Moyes is not happy, your thoughts on the penalty shout for handball?”

Shearer replied: “I’ve got great respect for David Moyes but I don’t agree with him on this one. I don’t think it’s handball. Thiago, there’s nothing he can do about it, he’s breaking his fall. The proximity, what is it? Half a yard away? No, that isn’t handball for me.”

“I know that he’s under pressure and I know that he’s angry…”

“Hang on, hang on, hang on. Ian Wright, look like you might be disagreeing?” Lineker cut in.

Wright said: “I think Moyesie’s got a point, simply because he’s lunging at it Al, he’s lunging and he’s out of control, and it’s hit his arm. I’m going to have to go with Moyesie on this one.”


It was the sort of sequence where outside the box the referee almost certainly gives it because it looked every bit an infringement one way or another.

If Ings had gone down there is just as much of an argument for it being a foul for a studs up challenge as Thiago clips his leg with the lunge as well.

The handball drew the attention because it looked more obvious, and many would say he threw himself into a challenge that he ultimately only won with the use of his arm.

The allowance for defenders to get away without being penalised if they are breaking their fall has probably saved him, but the “clear and obvious” criteria for VAR involvement certainly leaves many unsatisfied.

If the ability for a referee to have another look at a debatable decision is available then they should be allowed to look, rather than only if the video assistant has already suggested they’ve got it wrong.

Expecting Kavanagh to make a split-second call and then only giving the chance to review if someone else is confident he was wrong it seems a waste of the help that is available.

Chelsea fans were enraged when Tomas Soucek got away without conceding a penalty late in the 1-1 draw on 11 February in similar circumstances, although West Ham supporters would argue that only cancelled out the decision to rule out Maxwel Cornet’s equaliser at Stamford Bridge on 3 September, when the VAR did decide to get involved.