LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 8, 2020: Referee David Coote during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Crystal Palace FC at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fans “can’t believe it” as David Coote returns to VAR for Liverpool vs. Leicester

A month after his disastrous performance as VAR for the Merseyside derby, David Coote has been named in the role for Liverpool’s clash with Leicester on Sunday.

Coote was roundly criticised for his lack of awareness in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park in October, namely having overlooked a season-ending challenge from Jordan Pickford on Virgil van Dijk.

Not only did Coote ignore the tackle from Pickford, instead only focusing on a marginal offside in the buildup to the collision, but he also came under scrutiny for ruling out a late winner for Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool requested a Premier League investigation into the use of the technology in the derby as a result, and the official was removed from referee and VAR duties for the following weekend’s fixtures.

Back as a referee the weekend after, Coote was then back at Stockley Park for the next round of games, with the concerns from the Merseyside derby largely falling on deaf ears.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is fouled by Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Now, with Liverpool preparing to take on Leicester at Anfield on Sunday, Coote has been restored to duties for a Reds game for the first time since that afternoon at Goodison, and, typically, this comes as VAR.

Chris Kavanagh will be referee for the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ table-toppers, with Daniel Cook and Marc Perry as his assistants, Paul Tierney as fourth official and Nick Hopton as assistant VAR.

It will be the eighth time Kavanagh as been given the whistle for a Liverpool game, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side winning all six of the games in the league, including a 2-1 win over Leicester last October.

But, unsurprisingly, the focus for Reds supporters was the involvement of Coote, with many taking to social media to criticise the decision:

ESPN report that Liverpool have been worst-affected by VAR decisions across the Premier League so far this season, with the most goals disallowed, penalties conceded and, overall, decisions against them by use of the technology.

The issue with VAR is not the technology itself, however, but those using it, and it should be a concern that an official who somehow managed to neglect a shocking challenge due to a blinkered focus on an offside call can be put in the same position just a month later.