An ex-City midfielder has suggested that the Catalan could walk away from English football after watching technology cost his side against Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola could turn his back on Manchester City and the Premier League if VAR continues to adversely affect the competition, according to Trevor Sinclair.
The reigning champions suffered a damaging 3-1 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, which left them nine points adrift of the current league leaders.
City thought they were due a penalty in the early stages of the heavyweight contest when Trent Alexander-Arnold appeared to handle the ball in the box, but the referee waved play on and Liverpool went up the other end and scored themselves, via a superb long-range Fabinho strike.
Referee Michael Oliver reviewed the incident before allowing the Brazilian midfielder’s goal to stand, leaving Guardiola and the visiting supporters astonished.
The Reds doubled their lead in the 13th minute when Mohamed Salah latched onto a teasing Andrew Robertson pass from the left to head past Claudio Bravo.
VAR was used again to check whether Salah was onside, with replays showing that he was just about level with final City defender John Stones when the ball was played.
Sadio Mane put Jurgen Klopp’s men 3-0 up shortly after half-time and Bernardo Silva pulled one back for City in the 71st minute before the referee took centre stage once again.
As City pressed for another goal, a Raheem Sterling cross hit Alexander-Arnold on the arm from close range in the penalty area, but their appeals for a spot-kick fell on deaf ears.
Guardiola vented his frustrations at the match officials on the touchline and appeared to sarcastically thank Oliver at the end of the match, which he later denied.
Sinclair, who played for City between 2003 and 2007, has predicted that Guardiola may decide to leave the Premier League if VAR continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons – with Sheffield United also the victims of a controversial call against Tottenham over the weekend.
“The Premier League has got a fantastic brand and I think it’s been affected negatively by this VAR situation,” Sinclair told Talksport. “It’s not a better spectacle now because VAR has been brought in.
“Pep wants clarity to what the rules are, because at the moment the fans, players and managers haven’t got a clue. This is my fear, that if this continues managers like Pep and the best players are going to start leaving the Premier League.
“If it continues to be this inconsistent, people are going to start leaving the Premier League and go to different leagues.
“I think Pep is right on the cusp. The Premier League is so good because we get the very best managers who attract the very best players.
“If you want to go to a top club, you look at who the manager is there. That’s how City have got the players they have got – because of Pep.
“Now, if managers start leaving the Premier League because there’s no consistency and it’s a flawed system, I think they’re in danger of ruining what they’ve produced over the last 25 years in the Premier League.”
After the international break, City will resume their latest Premier League campaign at home to Chelsea on November 23.