Sports Desk, Jan 7 (EFE).- An intervention by VAR Saturday spared defending FA Cup champions Liverpool the embarrassment of being eliminated in the third round of this year’s competition by Wolverhampton, who saw their probable match-winner in the 82nd minute disallowed for an offside.
Julen Lopetegui, in only his fifth game as Wolverhampton coach, received a yellow card for protesting the decision, which sealed the 2-2 draw and set up a replay at Molineux to decide who will advance to the round-of-16.
The contest at Anfield featured the debut in a Liverpool shirt of Cody Gakpo, acquired from PSV Eindhoven after his impressive performance for the Netherlands at the World Cup, and his first attempt as a Red came in the 5th minute, seconds after Mohamed Salah fired over the cross-bar on a free kick.
But the visitors would strike first as Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson inexplicably put the ball into the path of Wolves striker Goncalo Guedes for an easy goal in the 26th minute.
The Reds equalized in the 45th with a goal from Darwin Nuñez, assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Salah put Liverpool up 2-1 in the 52nd minute. Nuñez had a chance to extend the lead a few minutes later, but his header went over the cross-bar.
Alisson denied Rayan Ait-Nouri in the 57th minute, only to concede nine minutes later to Hwang Hee-chang after a botched clearance by defender Ibrahima Konate.
Another instance of poor defending set up Toti Gomes’ goal with eight minutes left in regulation, though VAR came to Liverpool’s rescue on that occasion.
Earlier Saturday, Newcastle United – currently third in the Premier League – were eliminated 2-1 by a Sheffield Wednesday, who labor in the third tier of English football.
Another Premier League side, Bournemouth, fell 4-2 to second division Burnley.
Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and Brighton & Hove Albion all prevailed over teams from the lower divisions to book their spots in the fourth round.
In all-Premier League ties, West Ham United blanked Brentford 1-0 and last-place Southampton edged Crystal Palace 2-1.