Liverpool v Manchester United


Full Time Summary

GB at 2017-10-14 14:41:50

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The main points in this game from the officials perspective were:

  • No question marks against the overall level of control displayed by the referee in this game.
  • The softly-softly tactics shown at the end of the first half was risky, but may have been effective in the end.
  • Sound fitness displayed again by Atkinson but not quite the high standard of positioning in the centre of the field of play at time,s as he found himself in the way of the players due to United’s tactics of defending high.

That was a fully satisfactory performance in the end by Martin Atkinson, but it was not as convincing as I have seen from him earlier this term. A top referee once said to me that if a game ever “goes South”, then those responsible for monitoring your performance will always look for something to “hang it on”. I will never be convinced that the challenge by Romelu Lukaku (MU 9) in the 35th minute was not worthy of a yellow card, and the timing in the game was also ideal for the referee to show everyone who was the boss. I am totally against terms like “in another game that may have caused a problem”, but it has to be said that Atkinson showed the depth of his confidence and experience to keep his tinder dry for that challenge. There are not many referees who could have got away with that.

In a game which rarely came to life due to the lack of goals and a lack of passion apart for a short period at the end of the first half, it was pleasing to see the way the players respected the match officials. They may not have agreed with everything, but there were no histrionics or blatant poor language or finger wagging at the referee that we have seen before in this fixture from certain players who are no longer at either club.

There was hardly anything which that game will be remembered for, but the most important thing from the official’s perspective was that they certainly won’t be remembered for affecting the result. There were a few key decisions to make, and all-in-all, they got the big one correct.

Not brilliant Martin, but certainly a performance worthy of praise, and one you would have taken before the game I am sure.

More RefCam to come this weekend

GB at 2017-10-14 14:21:53

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My final summary will follow very shortly.

I trust you have enjoyed our RefCam this lunchtime. Later today you can follow Watford v Arsenal from the referee’s perspective at 17.30 pm.

Followed by Southampton v Newcastle Utd KO 16.00 pm tomorrow and then the Monday night game Leicester City v WBA KO 20.00 pm

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GB at 2017-10-14 14:21:01

Full Time

Liverpool 0 v 0 Manchester United


GB at 2017-10-14 14:19:48

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GB at 2017-10-14 14:17:02

minimum of 3 added minutes


GB at 2017-10-14 14:15:22

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yellow card Yellow Card for Ashley Young (MU 18) and another example of Atkinson determined to keep the lid screwed down in this game now. Did not seem anything like as poor a challenge as the Lukaku one in the first half and AR2 Stephen Child did not even think is was a foul from a few lards away!


GB at 2017-10-14 14:09:24

Yet another example this season of players raising their boot excessively high and endangering the safety of others – a team mate this time!


GB at 2017-10-14 14:07:54

This has been an excellent game example of the players showing respect to the referee. They may not have agreed with every single decision, but on the whole they have communicated respectfully with the head official. That type of respect has to be earned by the referee.


GB at 2017-10-14 14:02:58

15 minutes to go and it does not look like it is likely to boil over at the moment, but a goal would certainly ignite the blue touch-paper.


GB at 2017-10-14 14:01:35

Chris Smalling (MU 12) picks up first Yellow Card of the game for unsporting behaviour for breaking up a promising attack.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:59:31

Atkinson has continued with his safety first approach in this second half with that free kick in the centre


GB at 2017-10-14 13:56:00

There has been nothing wrong with the referee’s stamina and sprinting in this game, but he has continued to find himself in the “mixer” a few times and has never really changed his “normal” patrol path to stay clear of a packed midfield


GB at 2017-10-14 13:51:34

Atkinson has an unobstructed view of that challenge just inside of the Manchester United penalty area then and did well not to get suckered into giving a soft penalty. We don’t want games of this magnitude to be decided on a controversial decision.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:49:13

Stephen Child could be heard telling another Premier League player how not to take a foul throw-in again then on the TV coverage I am watching. I have to say I am glad to hear that level of communication when a lot of foul throws were not punished earlier in the season.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:44:37

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10 minutes gone in the second half and the Referee continues to keep this game under his full control. The longer it stays like this, the less his tactics at the end of the first half will be discussed.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:42:09

school-boy error by Matteo Darmian (MU 36) who fails to take a throw-in correctly – that’s the type of thing the referee must not let go un-punished, but it is right up there with the earlier encroachment for me


GB at 2017-10-14 13:39:03

Ashley Young (MU 18) was clearly within 9.15 metres of the corner arc at that corner which he successfully blocked. Atkinson does not want to be seen as fussy or to micromanage this game, but on the other hand he must be seen to get the obvious things correct! That should have been an indirect free kick awarded to Liverpool from where it struck Young – we can debate whether a yellow card was needed (considering what has gone on without sanction), but the encroachment should have been punished


GB at 2017-10-14 13:34:00

Straight away we see a “soft” free kick awarded by Atkinson in the first minute of the second half – a clear sign that he has kicked himself up the behind and really wants to ensure this game does not get away from him.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:31:53

United get second half underway

GB at 2017-10-14 13:31:09

Nice to see some comments coming in on Twitter about that Lukaku challenge in the 35th minute – it certainly did set the standard:

@youaretheref Sets the standard……

Half Time Summary

GB at 2017-10-14 13:28:01

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The last 10 minutes of the first half showed how a match can be on a knife edge for the officials. This was always going to be about balance for the referee in this game. Flash cards around too early and it could spoil the action and lead to a soft second yellow, but miss the first opportunity to stamp his authority, and he puts a lot of pressure on himself from that stage onwards. The challenge by Lukaku in the 35th minute was an ideal opportunity for the referee to be strong and set his tolerance level, but for me he let it slip by, and from then on the players took it as a sign that this was a game where “crunching” tackles were going to be fine.

As for the later clash by Lukaku when he caught Dejan Lovren (L 6) with his boot in the face whilst he was on the ground near the end of the half, that looked like a complete accident to me.

The officials would have been happy for the half time break to come though, as the match was just beginning to simmer. I expect to see Atkinson reign it in a bit when we get started again.

GB at 2017-10-14 13:18:28

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GB at 2017-10-14 13:17:02

one added minute – the officials will be happy to get this lot into the dressing rooms to calm down


GB at 2017-10-14 13:15:37

As I have said before on RefCam, there is no rocket science about refereeing – if Atkinson had nailed Lukaku in the 35th minute, none of this rise in the temperature would be happening now.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:12:56

The ferocity of the challenges is sure to increase now and I believe it will all go back to that Lukaku “let off” if this one all kicks off in the second half


GB at 2017-10-14 13:10:53

You can sense the tension rising out there now as the players want to get on with the game but the referee wants the restart taken from the right position


GB at 2017-10-14 13:08:53

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I am amazed that Atkinson did not show Romelu Lukaku (MU 9) a yellow card for that first reckless challenge of the game.

With the bar set that high now, I will be very surprised if someone does not get cautioned for less than that later in the game.



GB at 2017-10-14 13:05:53

Excellent “not offside” call then by Stephen Child as the United defender was keeping the Liverpool player onside as the ball was played forward at the beginning of that last great chance for the Home team.


GB at 2017-10-14 13:03:11

With only 5 free kicks given in the first 32 minutes, this is hardly a blood and guts encounter so far but it has been good to see the referee really trying not to get involved unless he really has to


GB at 2017-10-14 12:59:38

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Dejan Lovren (L 6) clearly tripped Ashley Young (MU 18) then as he tried to overlap into an attacking position. Even if it was not done on purpose, it was still a foul. To be fair to Atkinson he may have had his view of the contact slightly obscured, but there is no excuse for AR1 Lee Betts not coming in then to “assist” the referee! That’s his job! And this is not the first game he has been found wanting this season in that department.


GB at 2017-10-14 12:55:17

Stephen Child flagging for offside then as the player returned into his own half from an offside position. Atkinson had to really blow his whistle for an extra length of time to make sure it was heard as the crowd roared thinking the player was away


GB at 2017-10-14 12:52:27

Great positioning then by Atkinson to be right on that trip just outside of the Liverpool penalty area – no one questioned that one!


GB at 2017-10-14 12:50:25

The pressure on the officials is clear for everyone to hear every time a challenge goes in the crowd roar for a free kick.

More advantages then by Atkinson, he really is giving this game every chance to keep moving whenever he can.


GB at 2017-10-14 12:48:04

Great example then of the ball popping up and hitting the United player on the hand and even though he gained control of it it was still no offence as it was not deliberate movement of the hand towards the ball


GB at 2017-10-14 12:44:11

Atkinson gave himself some thinking time then before stopping play for that Liverpool free kick. He made the right choice in the end – no need to take any chances yet, just give the safe free kicks everyone expects


GB at 2017-10-14 12:40:45

With United packing the midfield with players at the moment, Atkinson has found himself getting in the way a few times now. He needs to adjust his tactics to match that of the away team to keep out of the way


GB at 2017-10-14 12:38:11

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Good to see the referee showing the same level of fitness i witnessed last time I watched him a few weeks ago.

Two great advantages bode well for this referee’s control to have the confidence to do that so early in this game.


GB at 2017-10-14 12:35:54

Atkinson sets his tolerance level with that first foul which is always important not to miss


GB at 2017-10-14 12:34:45

The opening exchanges are very respectful between the two teams which helps the officials to settle into the game until the first foul comes along!

GB at 2017-10-14 12:33:01

Law 4: Colours
• The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other
and the match officials
• Each goalkeeper must wear colours that are distinguishable from the other
players and the match officials
• If the two goalkeepers’ shirts are the same colour and neither has another
shirt, the referee allows the match to be played

Kick Off

GB at 2017-10-14 12:31:05

Manchester United won the toss so it will be Liverpool to kick off.

Good luck to all! And may the ball run kindly for you.

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GB at 2017-10-14 12:29:24

With a game like this which will be shown live all over the world, why oh why do we have the officials in the same colour as the Manchester United goalkeeper again? I am fully aware of the Premier Leagues regulations, but at the end of the day it is still against law!

GB at 2017-10-14 12:25:00

Not long to go now as the players and officials prepare to leave the tunnel


GB at 2017-10-14 12:22:37

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GB at 2017-10-14 12:21:10

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Today’s officials are:

Referee: Martin Atkinson

AR1: Lee Betts (Technical Area)

AR2: Stephen Child

4th Official: Jonathan Moss

Martin Atkinson

This game has always been the one every official wants on their CV, and it was only two years ago that today’s referee chalked the first time up! There can surely be no surprises that England’s current “top” official has been handed the reigns again for this week’s blue ribbon event though? Fresh on the back of his last outing in the EPL, which was a virtually faultless handling of the Chelsea v Manchester City game a couple of weeks ago, the safety first option seems very credible to me. Looking at whom else could be in the frame; this is where the politics of the appointing system at the highest level starts to kick in at this stage of the season. Marriner is available this weekend, but Atkinson will always get the nod ahead of him. Dean is available, but the only time he has refereed in Liverpool was for the Everton v Liverpool game last season, and the PGMOL are not ready for the fallout likely if he did this one. That leaves Michael Oliver (with Anthony Taylor currently at the FIFA U17 in India), and he refereed this the other way around last time the teams met last season. There is also a school of thought that the PGMOL will be considering wrapping the safety blanket around Oliver and Taylor for the next 4 weeks, as the last thing they need is a high-profile failure with their FIFA futures in the balance at the moment.

So enter stage left Martin Atkinson, and let’s hope you can pick up from where you left off at Stamford Bridge in September!

Here are the starting line-ups for this game:

GB at 2017-10-14 12:19:12


22     Simon Mignolet (L 22)

5       Georginio Wijnaldum (L 5)

6       Dejan Lovren (L 6)

9       Roberto Firmino (L 9)

10     Philippe Coutinho (L 10)

11     Mohamed Salah (L 11)

12     Joseph Gomez (L 12)

14     Jordan Henderson (L 14)

18     Alberto Moreno (L 18)

23     Emre Can (L 23)

32     Joel Matip (L 32)


1       Loris Karius (L 1)

7       James Milner (L 7)

15     Daniel Sturridge (L 15)

17     Ragnar Kalvan (L 17)

21     Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (L 21)

29     Dominic Solanke (L 29)

66     Trent Alexander-Arnold (L 66)

Manchester United

1       David De Gea (MU 1)

4       Phil Jones (MU 4)

9       Romelu Lukaku (MU 9)

11     Anthony Martial (MU 11)

12     Chris Smalling (MU 12)

18     Ashley Young (MU 18)

21     Ander Herrera (MU 21)

22     Henrikh Mkhitaryan (MU 22)

25     Luis Antonio Valencia (MU 25)

31     Nemanja Matic (MU 31)

36     Matteo Darmian (MU 36)


2       Victor Lindelöf (MU 2)

8       Juan Mata (MU 8)

14     Jesse Lingard MU 14)

17     Daley Blind (MU 17)

19     Marcus Rashford (MU 19)

20     Sergio Romero (MU 20)

38     Alex Tuanzebe (MU 38)

16     Michael Carrick (MU 16)


GB at 2017-10-14 12:14:46

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The rivalry between these two teams, and particularly their respective sets of supporters cannot be underestimated for one minute. And with the respective forms of each team coming into this one, it is likely to make the tension out there even more intense than usual.

Every time they meet it’s like a cup final, regardless of the league placings or stage of the season. Form counts for nothing in these games though and there is far more to play for then bragging rights out there today.

Liverpool need to prove that they have the tools to keep pace with the big boys as a loss today will already leave them 10 points behind their arch rivals. Manchester United on the other hand will be intent on maintaining their excellent start to this year’s campaign and prove they can cut the mustard against one of the top 6 teams. I expect this one to start with a bang and rather than a slow burn, so let’s sit back and enjoy the fireworks!


GB at 2017-10-14 12:11:47

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Welcome to this lunchtime RefCam coverage of the Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester United. Minute by minute commentary from the referee’s perspective is about to follow.

Feel free to interact with me at any time during the game by joining in on Twitter @youaretheref or e-mail at