Chelsea vs Liverpool: Why Kai Havertz Goal Was Disallowed Despite the Arm Being in a Natural Position

Chelsea vs Liverpool: Why Kai Havertz Goal Was Disallowed Despite the Arm Being in a Natural Position

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:29 PM
In this article:
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  • Kai Havertz produced a controversial moment during Chelsea's game vs Liverpool at Stamford Bridge
  • The Chelsea striker found the back of the net, but it was disallowed for handball
  • There was no question that the ball touched his arm, but it was the position that generated debate

Chelsea fans were left incensed after Kai Havertz's goal vs Liverpool on April 4th was chalked off for handball.

The Blues welcomed Liverpool with both sides struggling in unfamiliar positions with less than 10 games remaining to the end of the season. It was Bruno Saltor's managerial debut, having taken over from Graham Potter on Sunday evening on an interim basis.

Chelsea vs Liverpool, Kai Havertz
Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic after their game vs Liverpool on April 4th. Photo by Glyn Kirk.
Source: Getty Images

His side were the better side in the opening exchanges and should have gone ahead on a number of occasions were it not for the profligacy of his players.

Reece James bundled in a rebound in the first half, but after a VAR review, January acquisition Enzo Fernandez was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

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Kai Havertz's goal

The real bone of contention, however, came in the second half when Kai Havertz scored just before the hour mark. N'Golo Kante, who was making his first Chelsea start since August, laid off a wonderful through ball for the German, who failed to chip the ball over past an on-rushing Alisson Becker.

The ball, however, fell back kindly to him and it ricocheted into an empty net. Frantic celebrations at Stamford Bridge were halted after replays showed that the ball was pushed in by Havertz's arm.

Questions quickly arose as to why the goal did not stand, yet Havertz's arm appeared to be in a natural position.

Contentious handball rule

The player defending his/her goal is often required to place his/her hand on his/her body every time. Should the ball hit the arm and the referee determines that it was in a natural position, then there will be no penalty.

But on the opposite end of the pitch, this rule does not apply. Any goal scored using the arm, natural position or not, is often deemed illegal.

From Havertz's incident, one could argue that there was pretty much nothing he could do about his arm, when the ball clearly ricocheted off it, thus not a valid goal.

Cucurella handball

In the same game, Liverpool were denied a freekick after Marc Cucurella handled the ball. Diogo Jota was left infuriated after the Spanish fullback, while going down, stopped the ball using his arm.

Referee Anthony Taylor gestured to Jota that there was nothing Cucurella could do about his arm as he was using it to support himself as he fell. This could have been interesting had it happened in the penalty area.

Chelsea were left to rue their chances as they settled for a goalless draw. The result leaves them in 11th place with 39 points, 11 off Manchester United in 5th place.

Who is Bruno Saltor?

Earlier, Sports Brief reported on Saltor being set to become Chelsea's third coach this season following the dismissals of Thomas Tuchel and Potter.

The Spaniard joined Chelsea in September and was part of the technical staff, having now been handed the reins of the club on an interim basis.

Saltor is a former professional player who played as a right-back, retiring in 2019 before venturing into coaching under Potter at Brighton.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
Stamford Bridge