Get that flag up

For 14 minutes, a ghostly quiet descended on Molineux. Martin Tyler and Don Goodman on Sky commentary duty desperately rotated around their few remaining subject points – the sense of dread all too palpable when it was clear there was only one sentence scribbled next to John Ruddy's name on the crib sheet – as we were denied replays of Conor Coady clattering into Rui Patricio.
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And while football’s lawmakers should be praised for introducing the concussion substitutions that saw Ruddy ushered on and spared Wolves having to squeeze Willy Boly into the No.1 jersey, the incident in Liverpool's 1-0 win highlighted one law that really needs to change now. And it would have multiple benefits.
Before diving in, we should add the enormous caveat that football can be a dangerous sport. And even if the assistant had flagged immediately when Mo Salah charged through on goal, it’s unlikely the referee would have blown in time to stop the horror collision. But it shows what a brutal game football can be and why there’s no need to play out scenarios that would have been previously flagged in the pre-VAR era.
Sure, it will mean a few more errors, but is that such a bad thing? Football is all about the moment. It’s too low scoring to thrive with a decent review system – each goal matters because you’re never quite sure when the next will arrive, particularly when you’re Liverpool. Those few moments of ball finding net trump other sports because they are far more fleeting than your touchdowns, tries and wickets.

'He's okay, he's awake' - Espirito Santo on Patricio injury

As we saw on Monday, you can watch 90 minutes and come away with few more memories than a Diogo Jota strike and a montage of Adama Traore roasting his man, then giving the ball straight back. So let us experience the emotions – the joy, the pain – that worked just fine for 100+ years without fear of VAR rebuke. So what if it will lead to referees making more mistakes? They make enough with technology anyway.
But back to the subject at hand. If assistant referees are given control of their flags again, rather than waiting for an attack to finish, it can also only help avoid pointless injuries from attacks that should never have happened. Maybe Patricio still would have been clattered. Perhaps the next incident can be avoided.
Anyway, fortunately Patricio seems to be OK, with Wolves boss Nuno telling Sky Sports: "He’s conscious and remembers what happened. He’s aware and the doctor said he’s OK. It was a collision with Coady’s knee on the head, but we have spoken and he is OK. All these situations get all of us worried, but he is going to recover."
We wish him a speedy recovery.

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Mamic heading to prison

Oooo, this is juicy. Just three days before their clash with Tottenham in the Europa League last 16, Dinamo Zagreb have a problem. A big problem. Their manager has signed a four-year (and eight-month) deal with... Jail FC.
Zoran Mamic, and brother Zdravko, have been convicted of tax evasion and hoovering up profits from transfers, including Luka Modric’s move to Spurs in 2012. Incredibly, Croatian law actually permitted Mamic eight days to tidy up his affairs – meaning he could have been on the touchline for the second leg – but he has elected to go on his own terms. Here are his thoughts:
Although I do not feel guilty, as I announced earlier, if the verdict is final, I accept it as such and resign from the position of head coach and sports director of GNK Dinamo. I wish the club a lot of luck and sporting success in its further work.
We're not well-versed in Croatian law, and what constitutes contempt of court, so we'll let you form your own verdict and move on.

Goal of the day competition

Away from the courts, and we can bask in two golazos from Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann during the 4-1 win over Huesca.
But which is your favourite? Watch the goals and cast your votes...
1. Lionel Messi. Was the first touch intentional? Who cares. A ridiculous finish under pressure, one of those lovely ones that hits the bar, bounces down, then hits the bar again and nestles in the net.
2. Antoine Griezmann. Perhaps more aesthetically pleasing, even if the opposition did seem allergic to him.


On first viewing, this looks like an ordinary save. Then the replays arrive. We’re not sure if there’s a Puskas Award equivalent for goalkeepers and, if there isn’t, we are firmly behind the Frantisk Plach Award being a regular thing.


They might be two of the most pitiful excuses for Premier League teams in history, but there was once a time when Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion were reputable teams.
Actually, that’s a complete fabrication but they did play out an all-time classic on this very day 19 years ago – the only occasion in English Football League history that a match has been abandoned due to a team having fewer than seven players. Featuring one of the great two-footers, two subs being sent off inside 90 seconds and Neil Warnock trying (and failing) to hide his glee at all the carnage.
(Advice for Southampton: next time you’re staring down a 9-0, fake a few injuries and get it wrapped up before it can happen.)


The never-ending stream of football serves up more Champions League last 16 action. Manchester City face Borussia Monchengladbach holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg, while we’re backing Atalanta to stage a famous snatch-and-grab when they arrive at Real Madrid trailing 1-0. Both kick-off at 20:00 GMT and you can follow LIVE and unadulterated coverage on this very website.
Marcus Foley is rumoured to be the third man in that Croatian court case, so we can't say at this stage if he'll be here tomorrow
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