Manchester United -v- Liverpool


TS at 2014-12-14 16:24:05

Time allowed of 3 minutes. Referee Atkinson can be delighted with his performance in which, apart from getting a goal kick and a caution wrong, he has controlled the game consistently and with consummate ease. His fitness and work rate have taken him into good viewing positions and he has delivered his awards with confidence and authority. All the cautions have been deserved and perhaps Liverpool will point a finger at the 2nd United goal being offside. Well done Martin and to any young referee watching the game there was some great referee practice to be seen. Good luck to Yorkshire referee Bobby Madley in the next game. Stay with You Are The Ref for more top quality advice coming next. Let us have your views during on Twitter @youaretheref or email to Thanks for your company on this game – see you at the far post!

TS at 2014-12-14 16:17:32

Approaching time allowed as United awarded a free kick in a great position. Use of the vanishing spray is good to see and I’m amazed that all levels of football in the UK are not using this wonderful aid to the art of refereeing! Apparently it the cost that is the reason why it not being used in the Vanarama Conference and at all levels down to local football? The referees at those levels want it, the players want it and yet the authorities are burying their heads in the sands of tradition behind cost issues. Come on folks – let’s move with the times and get into the real world! Good to see the players toeing the line when the vanishing spray is used.

TS at 2014-12-14 16:15:07

Brad Jones in Liverpool goal saves well from Van Persie to deny United a 4th goal.

TS at 2014-12-14 16:13:56

De Gea again saves to deny Liverpool. He has been outstanding and deserves his clean sheet as we are in the last 5 minutes.

TS at 2014-12-14 16:12:35

The retrospective booking of Gerrard following the advantage is correctly delivered. Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 16:11:46

Inspired advantage by referee Atkinson but the eventual header is weak and easily saved.

TS at 2014-12-14 16:10:35

De Gea is unbeatable today as he dives to his right to deny Ballotelli. Man of the match for me is the United keeper!

TS at 2014-12-14 16:09:25

United retaining possession to the Ole of the crowd and there could be more goals in this game.

TS at 2014-12-14 16:06:46

Rooney off and Falcao on for United as we approach the last ten minutes.

TS at 2014-12-14 16:05:17

Martin Atkinson looks in total control as he delivers his sanctions in accordance with the Laws Of The Game. Just the one incident escaped his attention  when the holding of Ballotelli should have earned a caution before he was just cautioned. It should have been his 2nd!

TS at 2014-12-14 16:01:54

It should be game over for United but not for the officials as they need to manage any Liverpool frustration – Ballotelli yellow card to illustrate exactly that! Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 16:00:26

Jon Moss looking cozy in his padded jacket as United take off Wilson and Van Persie scores Red CardFootball on the counters attack. Good decision regarding offside by AR Child.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:57:35

Substitutions can be another area where added attention is required from the officials as the teams attempt to change the game and possibly the pattern of play. It’s a good ploy for a referee to slow the game down at substitutions if the tempo has increased and control can be threatened.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:56:38

The third goal of the game is important as Liverpool bring Moreno on to pile more pressure on United.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:55:20

Sensible free kick after foul by Mata allows Rooney to whisper sweet nothings in the referee’s ear. Good decision despite Rooney as Van Gea again saves United again.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:51:51

Liverpool with lots of possession but need to be aware of the counter attack. Quick breaks can catch the referee out too and he’ ll need to be on his toes . Good advantage played before a United free kick gives Van Persie a chance. Past the post.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:47:13

Foul by Fellaini (on a caution) gives Liverpool a freekick which hits the wall. Fitness and work rate are the basis of the modern game today so that the referee remained close to play and is able to sell his decisions from close proximity. This is particularly important in, and around, the penalty area where the ‘big decisions’ in the game have to be made. Martin is sprinting through the midfield area to ensure he’s right there in the neatly area.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:41:16

De Gea magnificent to deny Liverpool on a one-to-one. He’s been the difference! Ballotelli fortunate to escape a caution for holding back Van Persie. The first ‘big’ referee error of the game. I can only think that he did not have the correct angle on the incident!

TS at 2014-12-14 15:37:50

Awareness of the high number of cautions in the first half could be an issue as the game progresses and a second yellow resulting in a sending off is something to watch for as the game developers. Spray used for the first time As a United freekick is cleared.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:34:17

First free kick to Liverpool as Rooney held Ballotelli.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:33:28

Second half underway as all three teams will have discussed their first half performances. The only fly in the official’s ointment was the offside goal. An important decision but it’s gone and the focus must be the control of the second half. Balotelli on for Lallana for Liverpool.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:26:12

The big talking point of the 1st half was the allowing of an ‘offside goal’ to United. Experienced AR Mike Mullarkey allowed the goal to stand despite a flick-on by Van Persie to the offside Mata. Difficult? What are your views on the standards of decision making by assistant referees in the Premier League since the start of this season? There are feelings within the game that standards have slipped in recent times and that the PGMOL have not made any public appointment for someone of the quality of Paul Rejier to continue the wonderful work he did in the past.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:19:47

TV evidence supports the 2nd United goal being Offside. Difficult decision but at this level it is expected that they will be adjudged correctly. Half time – 2-0 United. Yorkshire tea time! Half time discussion for your views – There were issues of simulation (diving) in yesterday’s games and our own Keith Hackett has highlighted the ‘diving storm’ in previous weeks – Here’s what he said “A new diving storm has sparked renewed calls for the Football Association to put cheat suspects on video trial for disciplinary action. Former referees’ chief Keith Hackett is urging the FA to follow the lead of their counterparts in Scotland where retrospective measures are taken. Hackett also suggests that managers can play a more active role – as they did during his time as the general manager of Professional Game Match Official Limited. His comments come amid Swansea manager Garry Monk’s outrage over the penalty awarded against his side in their 2-1 defeat at Stoke where Victor Moses appeared to dive and deceive referee Michael Oliver.

While admitting that Oliver blundered, Hackett insists players and managers should be expected to play their part in eradicating a blight on the game. “This latest incident shows that players can deceive even the best referees – and also when they are ideally positioned,” said Hackett. Writing in his latest blog, he tells of meeting Premier League managers on the subject. “The likes of Ferguson, Moyes, Wenger, Redknapp and Allardyce were present,” Hackett recalled, “I told them that, such was the nature of simulation, that they might see a yellow card awarded one week and then an incorrect penalty given the next. “We had a really constructive debate and I was left feeling content that managers would play their part in reducing simulation. “Sure enough, they were true to their word and we saw an instant reduction.” The clear inference is that managers again have a duty to act. Hackett feels that is also true of the FA. “They should adopt the system in operation in Scotland where players can be charged,” he said.


TS at 2014-12-14 15:15:59

AR Child flags for a foul to help kill the game as the tempo rises. Good teamwork with a corner to a corner to Liverpool as 2 minutes added.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:13:48

Approaching time allowed and United deserve their lead as Rooney takes a caution following a careless challenge. Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 15:12:00

Goal United as Mata crept in at the back post to head home. Football Unfortunately Mata looked offside and it all depended if Van Persie played the ball is it came across! A difficult decision for AR Myllarkey.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:09:55

Corner expected when a goal kick given! The first error of the game by the referee. Waiting a couple of seconds would have helped him get it right.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:08:10

Caution for Evans. United’s 3rd followed by a foul by Luverpool as Rooney requested another caution. Well handled with good dialogue and a smile. Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 15:05:34

Good chance for Liverpool but the first touch was poor and allowed the challenge for a corner. It will be encouraging for Liverpool. Again, Martin’s position close to the edge of the penalty area was terrific to be able to judge all eventualities. Well done!

TS at 2014-12-14 15:02:02

30 minutes gone as the officials continue to deliver credible decisions to everyone’s expectation in their firm control of the game.

TS at 2014-12-14 15:00:37

Allen earns. Caution for Liverpool as AR Mullarkey and referee Atkinson rightly adjudged a deliberate block to prevent a promising attack.Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 14:55:52

Corner to Liverpool after another good save. Martin’s decision making has been highly credible due to his close proximity to play and his ability to adopt the best viewing angle. Substitute for Liverpool as Jon Moss allowed Toure on to replace the injured Johnston.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:51:49

Reckless tackle from Jones earns United their second caution of the game, correctly issued. Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 14:50:26

Approaching 20 minutes on the clock  and Martin’s control of the game so far has been first class. He looks cool, calm and collected as he sells his decisions.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:47:24

First offside from AR Child. Offside judgement has been suspect in the Premier League this season with too many Assistant Referees getting their decisions wrong. Incorrect judgement happens but there does not seem to be an effective mentor working with the Select Group of Assistant Referees to help them solve their problems. Let’s hope that all offside decisions are correct today and do not cost either team points in the League table.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:44:43

End to end play with United taking their chance when Liverpool didn’t! Goals change games and the officials need to maintain their concentration.. Good advantage played in midfield as United maintain possession.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:42:45

Delivering accurate decisions by the referee to the expectation and perception of the players is an important skill which if successfully carried out negates dissent following the award.  Free kick to United in the midfield area. Chance to Liverpool saved by the keeper before Rooney opens the scoring. Football

TS at 2014-12-14 14:40:48

Pouring rain in Manchester as we pass the 10 minute mark and an even contest developing as the officials need to maintain their focus.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:37:45

First caution inside 5 minutes defines Martin’ tolerance level and the players should have noted that and behave accordingly. Early cautions either work perfectly or lead to ‘a bucketful’ of yellow cards. Let’s hope the players respond.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:35:15

First free kick to Liverpool before Fellaini earns a caution for a rash challenge near the dugouts. Yellow Card

TS at 2014-12-14 14:33:01

United under pressure early in the game as Liverpool look to be totally focused on a high tempo game.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:31:53

First corner kick and we will all be watching the issue of grappling! This it is an area of the laws of the game that is not consistently applied. Law is clear and it should be applied consistently within the Premier League.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:31:06

Liverpool in all yellow and playing right to left as they kick off.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:30:12

The whistle blows and we’re underway. The referee will have done his homework on both teams in an attempt to be in total control. He’ll be aware of where his problems might arise and let’s hope that he will be able to get into the best viewing positions to judge incidents. Let us know your thoughts through the usual channels.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:25:16

The teams are in the tunnel ready to enter the arena for today’s game as the Assistants carry out the equipment check in readiness for the contest.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:19:20

Referee Martin Atkinson is highly experienced at this level and he has excellent man-management techniques within his skill set. He is working hard to become the best referee on The Select Group and I have been impressed with his performances this season. He has avoided any major controversy recently whilst several of his fellow referees have been the subject of intense media and knowledgable observers criticism. I worked with Martin at the Dallas Cup where his close friend Andre Marriner also officiated. Martin will have been saddened by the belittling of Andre by the head of the PGMOL following his public humiliation in sending him to Fleetwood yesterday. It is yet another example of the total lack of man-management, humility and empathy by PGMOL who continue to make management mistakes on the grandest of scales. Surely Andre could have been quietly disciplined following his ‘horror game’ last weekend as his public treatment only serves to add more fear factor into the referee group whose moral is most probably at an all time low. Both Martin’s Assistants today are highly experienced with Mike Mullarkey having a World Cup Final medal in his trophy cabinet at home. Fourth official Jon Moss has a wonderful manner and should be ideal in his role as 4th Official today.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:16:36

Tensions will be high inside the Theatre Of Dreams at Old Trafford this afternoon as the home team take on one of their greatest rivals. In past years the animosities between the respective managers and the predictable war of words prior to the game, tended to overshadow proceedings but now Sir Alex is gone let us hope the quality of the football does the talking. Lots of skilful players on show today and the officials will hope that they can play a ‘low key’ role and only intervene when necessary.

TS at 2014-12-14 14:12:43

Manchester United -v- Liverpool
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant 1: M. Mullarkey
Assistant 2: S. Child
Fourth Official: Jon Moss

Good afternoon and welcome to You Are The Ref as we get ready for what should be a most interesting game from Old Trafford this afternoon. The United manager does not seem to be under any pressure from the owner of the club as he tries to create a team worth of a title challenge in the future. Will Louis van Gaal be given the same chance to succeed as Sir Alex had? Similarly Brendon’s Rodgers has seen his Liverpool team under- achieve this season and so today becomes a big game for both teams. This fixture traditionally is always a tight game and we wish Martin Atkinson and his colleagues the best of luck today. We value your comments throughout this afternoon via email and Twitter, so keep them coming. Let us have your views on Twitter @youaretheref or email to