Liverpool host Fulham in their next Premier League game this weekend, but the referee appointment has the potential to go down badly with Jurgen Klopp and Reds fans.
Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes
The Reds continued their good start to the season last Saturday, coming from behind away to reigning champions Manchester City to seal a 1-1 draw at the Etihad, thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant strike late in the day. It means that Klopp’s men are still just one point behind Pep Guardiola’s team heading into December – Arsenal currently lead the way and are three ahead of Liverpool – with a thrilling title race looking more likely by the week.
The Reds have made giant strides after last season’s woes, with a rebuilt midfield completely transforming the team since August, and it is now a case of finding even more consistency in the coming months, particularly away from home. Liverpool’s next league game sees them host Fulham on Sunday afternoon – they are at home to LASK in the Europa League on Thursday evening – in what represents a must-win game for the Merseysiders in the title battle.
Now, the officials have been announced for the match, and with referees and VAR such a hot topic of conversation in football at the moment, any appointment has the potential to cause controversy.
Stuart Attwell to referee Liverpool v Fulham
On Tuesday, it was confirmed by This Is Anfield that Stuart Attwell will referee Liverpool’s home clash with Fulham on Sunday, with Paul Tierney on VAR duty at Anfield.
The report points out that Attwell was at the “centre of controversy on Monday night” in the Cottagers’ 3-2 win at home to Wolves, awarding them two penalties while in charge of VAR. Meanwhile, Tierney has plenty of history with Klopp, with the Liverpool manager making no secret of the fact that he doesn’t rate him as a referee.
He harshly sent-off Alexis Mac Allister against Brighton earlier in the campaign – a decision that was later reversed after an appeal – and a string of poor decisions have happened in the past, even leading Reds supporters to direct a chant in his direction when he officiated the 3-0 win over Brentford earlier this month.
TalkSPORT journalist Alex Crook took to X after the Fulham-Wolves game on Monday night to share his thoughts on Attwell, describing him as “an absolute joke”, adding that he “could not wait to get involved” all evening long.
There is no question that Attwell and Tierney’s appointments are going to cause frustration among Liverpool fans, especially the latter, whose performance in charge of Reds matches have been questionable at best in recent times.
It should be pointed out that referees are human beings who are trying to do a difficult job, but there have been unacceptable mistakes on show that have cost Klopp’s side, and if Attwell and Tierney go against Liverpool once more this weekend, the Reds boss will find it extremely difficult to bite his tongue.