Sunderland v Liverpool


GT at 2015-01-10 15:40:07

This one is over but stay with us here on YATR for more live commentary on Refcam today, as we have the London derby game Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur later, with yet more action tomorrow as we cover the games Arsenal v Stoke City and Man United v Southampton.

Our website   has loads of other great content and competitions including ‘The Ref Show’, a great feature called ‘Cards on the Table’ in which Alan Biggs talks football with The Rt. Hon. David Blunkett MP and, of course, the superb ‘Hackett’s Blog’ where the former top referee and PGMOL supremo continues to cause angst back at football’s HQ by simply calling it as it is. I guess some people just cannot handle the truth….

Keep it here on

GT at 2015-01-10 15:39:03

In summing up our officials’ performances:

Bobby Madley (4th official) – good, understated performance.

John  Brooks – poor performance. When called upon in the 3rd minute to assist his referee with the clearest of penalty calls, he was missing. Again on the hour, he backed away from assisting his referee when Johnson hauled his opponent to the ground right under Brook’s nose. A weak assistant referee who never has convinced me that he belongs at this level.

Darren Cann – as expected, without fault. Bravely, and correctly, had Bridcutt dismissed for a 2nd caution early in the second half. Top performer of the whole team. No more needs to be said.

Craig Pawson – some good points including the advantage he played for Liverpool’s opener but he should have ‘sold’ the decision better. Another problem for Craig today was a lack of consistency in his award of cautions. Similar offences were not similarly punished. Sadly thugh it’s the same old story with so many of his colleagues which we saw today…it’s the big decisions which determine perception, and Craig got the penalty call in the 3rd minute horribly wrong.

How can it be that so many referees are getting so many big calls wrong this season?

The answer for me is simple. A lack of confidence borne out of a lack of leadership from their boss, Mike Riley.

How much longer can this debacle continue?

GT at 2015-01-10 15:37:31

Game over.

And it;s 3 points to the Anfield men.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:37:05

Definitely not a free-kick to Sunderland on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area, as the home team man makes a meal of the challenge

GT at 2015-01-10 15:34:54

The Sunderland supporters are literally voting with their feet, as the stadium empties early

GT at 2015-01-10 15:33:51

The 90 minutes are up….3 additional ones to go.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:33:28

Gomez delivers a hefty blow on Markovic but there was no intention in that one, as the Liverpool man came in on his opponent’s blind-side

GT at 2015-01-10 15:31:58

Wes Brown must be getting close to a caution for persistent infringement as he commits another ‘small’ foul.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:29:58

Excellent spot under his nose by Darren Cann, as he correctly sees a touch off Henderson and awards a throw-in to Sunderland

GT at 2015-01-10 15:28:51

Sunderland’s last chance as Mandron replaces Adam Johnson

GT at 2015-01-10 15:28:24

With 5 minutes to go Sunderland need to do something they have only done in 10 of their 21 games so far….score a goal.

With only one win at home all season the pressure is mounting.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:26:32

You have to feel for Balotelli !!

He performs a great turn on his marker O’Shea, only to slip and fall flat on his face.

Why is it always Mario?!!?

GT at 2015-01-10 15:24:29

But with the absence of the skipper, Henderson fires it over the bar

GT at 2015-01-10 15:23:54

Correctly awarded free kick as O’Shea blocks off Coutinho.

This is in ‘Gerrard territory’

GT at 2015-01-10 15:22:30

Offside against substitute Buckley.

A ‘bread and butter’ decision which all assistants should call correctly.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:21:25

Changes for Sunderland as Buckley replaces Giaccherini and Wickham goes for Graham

GT at 2015-01-10 15:14:50

Inside the last 20 minutes now, and despite their dominance Liverpool have not buried this game yet.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:12:26

Foul by Gomez.

But AGAIN…why no caution?

There is a lack of consistency in Craig’s punishment today.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:10:39

Substitution for Liverpool, as Balotelli replaces Borini.

The Italain striker needs to use this opportunity to stake a claim for a starting place in the Liverpool line-up

GT at 2015-01-10 15:09:32

It’s all Liverpool now as they queue up for chance after chance…but it remains 0-1

GT at 2015-01-10 15:04:32

What is John Brooks actually contributing to this game on that far side line?

Johnson pulls his opponent all over the place right under Brooks’ nose, yet he gives nothing and leaves it to his referee to give the free kick from distance.

Weak lining from a poor assistant referee.

GT at 2015-01-10 15:02:42

Correct not to award a 2nd yellow against Coutinho there, as he was walking away from the free-kick that time, but the Sunderland man tried to get him sent off by firing the ball at him

GT at 2015-01-10 15:01:28

YATR followers are making intersting comments on the non-award of the penalty.

Jason Pettigrove – I could not agree more. Definitely should have been a penalty, and Liverpool supporters rightly feel aggrieved as yet another big call goes against them this season

GT at 2015-01-10 14:57:52

The cautions are stacking up now!!

GT at 2015-01-10 14:57:36

Now it’s substitute Lovren’s turn to see yellow for a careless challenge Yellow Card

GT at 2015-01-10 14:56:47

Correct caution on Henderson Yellow Card

Stopped a promising attack by bringing down Johnson

GT at 2015-01-10 14:55:54

Good offside call.

O’Shea came back from an offside position and became active.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:52:16

Excellent call by Darren Cann to award a free-kick against Bridcutt, and then inform his referee that a second yellow has to follow.

Top lining Yellow CardRed Card

GT at 2015-01-10 14:47:52

The second half gets under way with the visitors taking the re-start.

Despite Liverpool’s dominance, this one is by no means over.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:39:06

An interesting observation, and question, to be raised…

Why, when Darren Cann now longer has the FIFA badge but the other assistant (John Brooks) does, is Darren still on the senior-side of the field of play?

Maybe a reflection of both assistants’ standing in the game.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:34:06

Half-time and it’s been all Liverpool, but they only have one goal to show for their dominance.

Unfortunately for our referee and his assistant, Brooks, they are likely to be remembered for that opening decision when they both failed to award the clearest of penalties to Liverpool.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:28:47

Two minutes to go and Borini goes around the keeper but the angle is too tight to find the net

GT at 2015-01-10 14:25:51

Good tackle inside the penalty area there.

Corner correctly awarded to Liverpool

GT at 2015-01-10 14:23:10

Free kick correctly given against Henderson for deliberate handball.

But again…why no caution?

GT at 2015-01-10 14:22:26

Coutinho cautioned for not retreating 9.15m Yellow Card

He should have started to move away from the free kick, and then he would not have seen yellow.

Correct decision.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:20:48

Good spot for the foul on Gerrard and a correct caution for the Sunderland man Yellow Card Bridcutt

GT at 2015-01-10 14:18:18

Look at Darren Cann’s signalling technique.

Crisp, clear signals leave no-one in any doubt.

A fantastic assistant referee in action.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:16:16

Excellent advantage played there as O’Shea pulled Borini to the ground.

Why didn’t Craig follow up his good work with the deserved caution though?

That was a stand-out yellow card.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:14:48

Markovic rattles the cross bar with a fantastic effort.

Corner correctly followed.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:13:37

Yellow Card

Vergini of Sunderland.

Correct – he blocked off a promising attack, and that is cautionable.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:12:36

Craig allows a challenge by Markovic to go unpunished.

The home ‘faithful’ are unhappy that no free kick followed, but he got that one right as it was a case of the player jumping away from a challenge than a foul being committed.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:10:27

Free kick given by Brooks, backed up by our referee.

Good decision chaps.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:08:50

Good spot by Craig to see that Gerrard effort was tipped around for a corner.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:04:59

Looked like two fouls by Markovic there.

Neither given.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:03:22

Yellow Card


Borini of Liverpool for a foul.

Correct decision.

GT at 2015-01-10 14:02:50

Why didn’t he play another advantage there though?

Sunderland were given a foul but would have preferred to play on.

The only reason to stop play is if there is a serious injury to deal with, there is no advantage and/or a player is to be cautioned or sent off.

Unless, of course……our referee is short of confidence and is taking the safe route of giving free kicks instead of advantage?

GT at 2015-01-10 14:00:25

Hopefully that goal has helped Craig to settle a little after that poor opening.

Even though he should have done better with the advantage signal, he may feel better now.

GT at 2015-01-10 13:59:00

Good spot by Craig there.

Definite foul for Sunderland

GT at 2015-01-10 13:56:30

I am convinced Craig Pawson played a great advantage there in the build-up to Liverpool’s opener.

However, he showed no advantage signal until AFTER the ball had entered the goal.

At that point there is no advantage to play-on as the game is ‘dead’ with a goal having been scored.

Advice to Craig….be brave and show you are playing advantage when you begin doing so. Don’t wait until after a goal has been scored in order to try and gain some ‘glory’

GT at 2015-01-10 13:53:41



GT at 2015-01-10 13:51:15

Questions also have to be asked of the assistant on the far side where that penalty should have been given.

John Brooks is equally to blame for that poor decision as he was in the optimal viewing position.

Poor, poor officiating all round there.

Let’s see how Craig recovers from that awful opening.

GT at 2015-01-10 13:49:36

First big call for our referee and I’m afraid he’s blown that one.

A definite penalty for Liverpool is rejected by Craig.

GT at 2015-01-10 13:45:12

Sunderland take the kick-off and get us underway…

GT at 2015-01-10 13:40:57

It’s almost time for kick-off at The Stadium of Light.

Cannot wait for this one to get going…

GT at 2015-01-10 13:28:46

As for today’s other two teams, The Black Cats currently sit in 14th place in the league, just 3 points above the relegation zone.

Manager Gus Poyet’s priority will be their goal difference. At minus 12 they have the fourth worst record in the division. Understandably that has been reflected in Sunderland’s style of play in recent games, with the boss adopting a more defensive approach, often trying not to lose games rather than pushing on to try and win them, although with the loss of Steven Fletcher to a groin injury that hasn’t been made any easier.

Their opponents today are Liverpool. The Anfield giants continue to blow hot-and-cold this season.

Already in The Capital One Cup semi-final and progressing nicely in The FA Cup, you could be fooled into believing it is another season to remember for The Reds. However, their league form is not great, and supremo Brendan Rodgers continues to search for goals in a side badly missing the long-term injured Daniel Sturridge, and with Sterling still on the beach the responsibility for goals lies with the player Sunderland would love to sign, Fabio Borini.

Additionally, having dropped goalkeeper Simon Mignolet “indefinitely” only for his replacement Brad Jones to also get injured meant that Rodgers has been forced into playing the former Sunderland stopper between the sticks despite some very indifferent performances. Mignolet looks a shadow of the man Liverpool paid around £10 million for, and his jitters are affecting the performances of his defensive colleagues.

So this one is set-up nicely.

Will The Black Cats of Sunderland prove too strong in defence for The Reds, or can the Anfield men rebuild a faltering season?

Let us know what you think and give us your views by contacting us either on Twitter @youaretheref or email us at

GT at 2015-01-10 13:14:51

Hi everyone and welcome to another live Refcam commentary on today’s Premier League fixture Sunderland v Liverpool.

This fixture will always be remembered for that bizarre incident in 2009 when a supporter threw a beach ball on to the field of play. A shot from Sunderland’s Darren Bent struck the beach ball and deflected the striker’s attempt beyond Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal, earning Sunderland all three points. The referee inexplicably allowed the ‘goal’ to stand, and was roundly criticised by all in the game who clearly knew the Laws of Association Football better than him. He should, of course, have disallowed the ‘goal’ and restarted the game with a dropped ball. The referee that day will, perhaps, not be such a surprise…the rather hapless Mike Jones being the culprit.

Today’s match thankfully sees different personnel in charge, with one of the Select Group’s newer-boys, Craig Pawson, taking control. The 35 year-old Sheffield whistler will be very ably assisted by the country, indeed for me the worlds, best assistant referee Darren Cann with John Brooks on the other line. Robert Madley completes the quartet as fourth official.

Craig is a likeable and popular member of the refereeing fraternity. Indeed, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to see him rise through the ranks, having had him run the line for me on a number of occasions as his career began to gather pace.

In his 15 Select Group games to date, Craig has issued 49 cautions and 4 red cards. He is seen as one of the few bright lights the PGMOL has at the moment, and he will be hoping for an afternoon to remember for all the right reasons in a fixture which brought so much trouble for his colleague in 2009.

Darren Cann deserves special mention today as we see him in action without his FIFA badge since the turn of the New Year. What a waste of talent the ludicrous 45-year-old age limit which FIFA imposes on all its officials brings. Cann is still a top, top performer both on and off the field of play.

The mild-mannered Norfolk official’s abilities as a role model away from the action are only outstripped by his talents on the line. Any ambitious officials, and indeed his colleague today John Brooks, would be well advised to watch this man in action. You will find no better assistant referee or ambassador anywhere in the world of football, and if ever there was a shining example of why all officials should not be forced to retire from the international stage merely due to age then Darren is that example.  Craig Pawson will be delighted to have such a top performer on one line today, as he will be safe in the knowledge that Darren is covering a large part of the field of play which he will not have to concern himself over.

John Brooks would do well to take a lead from the mercurial Cann, and perhaps he would then avoid the embarrassment he brought upon himself a couple of years ago when he told Manchester City players to go over and thank their travelling supporters in a game at Arsenal. Not your finest hour, Brooks. Stick to the script and keep your head down, and you may yet make a career out of this.