There absolutely HAS to be consistency in the interpretation and the application of the law. If there isn't then you get different decisions and no one knows what is or isn't the outcome. The very reason why there exists a debate about was it wasn't it, is because of how the law is applied and how the law is interpreted. Hence my original view on Sterlings tackle compared with Aubamtang's and the other one I couldn't recall. And hence why your interpretation is different to mine. Even the refs interoperate and apply the law differently, it's subjective so requires precedent to help to at least set a reference or provide a baseline. There will always be however different interpretation if laws applied by different people, so I believe VAR should be the same group of people for every game rather than the rotation we have now (for another debate).But it doesn't matter if they are competing for the ball. It's extremely rare that a player isn't competing for the ball. The rules don't require it to be deliberate to be a red.
Refs aren't meant to be refereeing based on what's happened in a previous match, they are meant to be referring according to the rules.
It doesn't matter if Sterling is genuinely competing for the ball, the law is there to prevent players from from being reckless in that genuine pursuit of the ball. So if you are lunging in and aren't sure of getting the ball, you run the risk of injuring the opponent quite badly, then the answer is, don't lunge in, studs first when you aren't sure of getting the ball and if you do, and get it wrong then expect the red.
Lo Celso's was far less dangerous, and far more influenced by what the other player did. Sterling's was just reckless and much more dangerous.
I would not have complained if Lo Celso was sent off, but Sterling's definitely should not have been in any doubt.
It's also why the phrase "back in my day that was never a red" exist. The interpretation and application of the laws have changed since then say the '70's. If we rewatched a game from the 70's we watch with our mouths wide open as two-footed tackles go flying in without a foul even being thought about. The laws whilst tweaked here and there are not drastically altered from the '70s to this day but the application and interpretation have.
There is still to this day a big difference in the application and interpretation between countries, yet the written law is still exactly the same.
How do you know that he didn't think he wasn't going to win the ball? If he didn't think he was going to win the ball then there's a probability that it is himself that can come off with a broken leg. Both with Sterlings and Lo Celso's challenges are always going to be "studs first" if they miss the ball (for whatever reason), because they are using their feet to challenge for the ball, the game is called "football" for a reason. Had Sterling got there a fraction of a second before Dele, then it would have been Dele that would have put his studs onto Sterlings shin!