Liverpool FC’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota Jr. accomplished two things with his boot Sunday, but only one is strictly permissible by the rules of soccer. Late in a clash with Tottenham Hotspur, Jota got his boot up very high on English Tottenham defender Oliver Skipp and drew blood, but only received a yellow card. Here’s video of that:
Casemiro does this and he gets a straight red. You can’t convince me otherwise.
Can’t believe VAR hasn’t even looked at Jota’s high boot there.#LIVTOT pic.twitter.com/dimz46H2Ho
— Owen 🔰 (@OwenUnitedView) April 30, 2023
That got many talking, and saying he should have received a straight red card:
Yes (x2), that should have been a red card for Diogo Jota after a very dangerous boot to Skipp's head and a penalty for Spurs after Konate dragged Richarlison down in the box pic.twitter.com/N9oGsaRgud
— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) April 30, 2023
Looking forward to Dale Johnson telling us tomorrow that this didn’t meet the threshold for a red card because Jota was wearing six, and not eight stud boots, and that it’s only a penalty on Richarlison if Konate pulls him down with three arms. https://t.co/saU3ZECGF4
— Adam Nathan (@adamdnathan) April 30, 2023
Yes. Its not violent conduct but its dangerous play. Defender is leading with his head before Jota's foot is raised off the ground and that is a high boot. Touch ball first or not it doesn't matter. https://t.co/MsGDU5915f
— You are the product (@Publ1cThoughts) April 30, 2023
How is that not red? There’s a reason high boots are illegal. Jota studs straight into his forehead clean. Bloody cut.
— Tottenham Loyal (@TottenhamLoyal) April 30, 2023
The red was not given, however, only a yellow. And that meant Jota stayed on the pitch. And, in a very Ted Lasso-esque finish, he scored the winner in stoppage time, a minute after a stunning headed equalizer (which brought Spurs all the way back from a 3-0 deficit) from Tottenham’s Richarlison off a free kick. Here’s that equalizer:
GOAL | Liverpool 3-3 Tottenham | Richarlison 🇧🇷pic.twitter.com/zjEpxAN6GF
— VAR Tático (@vartatico) April 30, 2023
And here’s Jota’s winning goal:
DIOGO JOTA WINNER 🔴 Scant 99 seconds after Richarlison pulled Spurs back from 3-0 down and hit the pigeon celes with Sonny. Agony for Spurs fans. pic.twitter.com/6gdhQAIJd0
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) April 30, 2023
While the “Agony for Spurs fans” there is absolutely correct, this victory also came at a cost for Liverpool. Manager Jürgen Klopp appeared to injure his hamstring celebrating that goal:
Jurgen Klopp pulled his hamstring celebrating that Jota goal 😅 pic.twitter.com/TLMvNCVrsn
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 30, 2023
Tottenham and Liverpool entered the day fifth and sixth in the Premier League table respectively, but the Liverpool win here bumped them up to 56 points, ahead of Tottenham’s 54. The fifth spot can be important, as that comes with automatic qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League regardless of results elsewhere.
However, Tottenham and Aston Villa (also on 54) points may still qualify for Europe as well. Fourth-place Manchester United won this season’s EFL Cup (which comes with a berth into the playoff stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League), and they’ll face first-place Manchester City for the FA Cup (which comes with a Europa League group stage berth). Cup berths are passed down if the team winning them qualifies through a table finish, so there will be European berths of one sort or another for the sixth and seventh-place teams. But the fifth-place spot and automatic group stage qualification can matter, and Liverpool got an edge there with this result Sunday. And two very different boots from Jota helped them get there.
[Image from @FootballTweet on Twitter]