Ahead of the return to domestic action on Saturday, the Premier League have named a controversial choice as referee for Liverpool’s clash with Brighton.
The Reds are finally back after a 17-day break this weekend, having seen two league fixtures postponed due to the Queen’s death.
Their last outing was the 2-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League, while their last league game was the 0-0 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby – almost a month ago.
That weekend brought controversy in another fixture, as West Ham suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Chelsea that saw David Moyes and Declan Rice criticise both the referee and VAR.
“How can you go over to the monitor and call that a foul?” Rice said in his post-match interview.
“It’s an absolute disgrace.”
The midfielder was referencing a supposed foul by Jarrod Bowen on Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, which led to a goal from Maxwel Cornet being overturned, denying West Ham a 2-2 draw.
Moyes accused Mendy of “faking an injury,” which certainly appeared to be the case, and described it as an “absolutely rotten decision from one of the supposedly elite referees.”
Referee that afternoon was Andy Madley, who has now been placed in charge of Liverpool vs. Brighton on Saturday – having previously been allocated the Wolves game before its postponement.
Despite there being no punishment in the form of demotion for Madley or VAR Jarred Gillett, neither Moyes nor Rice were reprimanded for their comments.
Madley has refereed Liverpool six times in his relatively short Premier League career so far, the most recent being the 2-2 draw with Fulham on the opening day of this season.
Between the controversy at Stamford Bridge and now, he has only been in charge of one other game, as referee for a UEFA Europa Conference League clash between Partizan Belgrade and OGC Nice.
VAR on Saturday will be Simon Hooper, who has been in the booth for three Liverpool games in the past – victories over Crystal Palace, Brighton and Wolves.