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Chris Waddle: I'd be happy to get rid of VAR for good

Liverpool need to learn from Manchester City's mistakes

VAR checks a goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Brighton
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If you asked football fans whether they’d happily go back to the old system of refereeing without VAR I reckon 95 per cent of them would say "yes" – and so would I.

Richard Masters, the Premier League’s new boss, says VAR isn’t working properly and he couldn’t be more right.

He also says it’s here to stay and if that’s the case then referees need to start enlisting the help of ex-professionals to make it work.

Referees are taking far too long with decision making and they aren’t necessarily coming up with the right decisions and it’s all making fans – and players – angry. Running away celebrating a goal and then having it chalked off a few minutes later is not good for the game. In fact it’s ruining it.

The number of penalty claims that are getting studied and studied over and over again is ridiculous and the simple solution is to have ex-pros involved in the decision-making, either up in the stands or alongside the VARs in Stockley Park.

We ex-professionals know the game inside out. We know who cheats, who dives, we know where your arms would be for handballs. We’d take two seconds to determine if it’s a penalty or not rather than having to go through this endless looking at angles that frustrates everyone.

Referees take too long debating because they are a different breed to professionals. They’re a bit naive. They might have learned the game and I daresay they love the game but they don’t know what it’s like to con or cheat a ref like a player does, and that added knowledge would be invaluable.

And it would speed the whole process up, which would be a start.

What’s gone wrong with Manchester City this season?

I think complacency has set in at Manchester City – and that should act as warning to Liverpool.

Liverpool have been an absolute machine this season and will be worthy champions after pushing City so close last year.

But maintaining those levels is incredibly difficult in a sport such as football which has a real knack of kicking you in the teeth when you least expect it.

City set the bar incredibly high last season but they’ve had a few setbacks – one or two injuries, Kompany’s exit, reshuffles at the back and a few players losing their hunger.

In short, I think they’ve become complacent.

They probably came out at the start of the season thinking we’re still the best team in the country and we will still steamroll opponents.

And the upshot is that they’ve lost silly games and drawn silly games – the 2-2 against Palace the most recent example – and just seem to lack that edge.

When I was at Marseille, club chairman Bernard Tapie said you have to keep players on their toes by bringing in a couple of high-class players every year and he was absolutely right. And Marseille won five consecutive titles at that time so he knew what he was talking about.

Pep Guardiola didn’t really do that last summer and now he looks like a man under pressure. The relaxed side to him seems to have gone, he’s a lot more serious, a lot more defeatist, he’s lost Mikel Arteta, his right-hand man, and I think that was a blow. It’s a brilliant squad of 15 or 16 players but have some of these players gone stale?

Make no mistake, that can happen to any side – and that includes Liverpool. Players say it’s my shirt, I don’t need to go the extra mile, and once that happens the rot can set in. And once you start seeing it with one or two, it can quickly spread. That will be the pressure on Jurgen Klopp next season.

Steven Bergwijn has made a flying start at Spurs. Can he make a difference in the race for the Champions League spots?

Steven Bergwijn couldn’t have enjoyed a more sparkling debut for Tottenham though the player I think who could make even more difference on the run-in is Giovani Lo Celso.

The Argentinian star is only 23 and struggled to make much of an impact when he first arrived at Spurs.

But it seems to me that as soon as he knew Christian Eriksen was on his way he thought this is my chance and he’s blossomed.

He’s hungry, he’s confident, he looks a real player and 18 months from now Tottenham may well be thinking he was an absolute steal at £30m.

Bergwijn needs to add consistency to his game. You look at him and you see a player who’s good on the ball, can spot a pass, can go past players and can score goals. So you’re immediately wondering why he's not been snapped up by a bigger club before.

My sense is that he’ll drift out of games and that might frustrate fans. But if he can sustain his appetite – and with a place in the Holland squad to nail down before the Euros he will certainly be trying – then he’ll be a hit.

Can you see Harry Kane being rushed back too soon from injury to play at the Euros?

I think Harry Kane’s injury is a blessing in disguise for England – and I don’t think it’s proving such a hindrance for Jose Mourinho either.

Kane last played a game on New Year’s Day and if you believe Mourinho it’s quite possible he won’t appear again until May.

From a Tottenham perspective that might sound like a nightmare scenario – although it’s interesting that even without him they are up to fifth in the Premier League and still in the FA Cup.

From an England perspective going into Euro 2020 we may well be getting a fully-fit, fully refreshed Harry Kane leading our line and that would be fantastic news.

Obviously Gareth Southgate will be having a fairly constant dialogue with Tottenham and Kane and he would obviously like his captain to play a game or two before the season is over.

But even if Kane is only 80 or 90 per cent fit going into June, Southgate will take him to the Euros because even off the bench he is a match-winner.

What does Danny Rose have to prove after joining Newcastle?

When we’re talking about left-backs, we mention Danny Rose right up there with the best of them.

When people mention Danny Rose these days they refer to him as a nuisance, someone who’s always moaning and doesn’t get on with Jose Mourinho, and doesn’t mix, and wants to move back up north.

And he does let himself down with some of the things he says.

But the bottom line is that he’s 29 and was in the last England squad. There aren’t many better left-backs or left wing-backs around and Steve Bruce has had a real coup here.

I’ve watched him play for years. He’s aggressive, a good crosser, strong and fast, but sometimes his body language has been terrible.

Well if it was all about a move back up north then you can’t go further north than Newcastle in the Premier League, so if this is what he’s been angling for then he can finally relax and show us what he’s all about and then get his dream move in the summer.

Newcastle United have been reported to be in takeover talks. What would it mean for Magpies fans if Mike Ashley finally sold up?

Newcastle fans would like to see their club sold but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this latest approach from a Saudi group of investors comes to nothing.
The last two bids came to nothing and that tells you something.
I have only met Mike Ashley once, after a game against Tottenham and I had a nice chat with him. I thought he was a lovely bloke.

I said to him then that he should be talking to the media more, talking to fans more, trying to explain to them what you’re about and what you’re trying to achieve, because when you don’t everyone starts guessing – and most of the guesswork is negative.

But while he might not talk much in public what I do know about him is that he is a hugely successful businessman who is going to want the right deal for him. That’s obvious.

My hunch, and it’s only a hunch, is that when he’s considering a sale he’s trying to hang on to some small share, and that’s putting potential buyers off.

Otherwise, what on earth would be standing in the way?

If I was a super-rich businessman with money to burn I’d be looking at a club like Newcastle and think I’m striking gold. It’s got so much in its favour.

But my sense is that we’re a long way from that situation.


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Running away celebrating a goal and then having it chalked off a few minutes later is not good for the game. In fact it’s ruining it
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