Martin Odegaard handball VAR appointed referee for Liverpool vs. Fulham

There tends to be some sort of history with most officials assigned to Liverpool games these days, but the referee for our clash with Fulham has made the headlines very recently.

Liverpool will take on Marco Silva’s side in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final at Anfield on Wednesday night, with both teams just 180 minutes from Wembley.

David Coote will be the man in the middle on this occasion, having angered Reds supporters only last month – and not for the first time!

Coote was the VAR for last month’s top-of-the-table meeting with Arsenal last month, a game in which the honours were shared in a 1-1 draw.

It was a game that wasn’t without controversy, however, with both on-pitch referee Chris Kavanagh and the VAR failing to award Liverpool a penalty for what was a blatant handball by midfielder Martin Odegaard.

Just two and a half weeks on, Coote will be involved again at Anfield, this time as the match referee.

He has been no stranger to controversy involving Liverpool, having allowed Jordan Pickford’s season-ending challenge on Virgil van Dijk to go unpunished in the Merseyside derby back in 2020.

It later transpired that Coote “forgot” to check for a red card for the goalkeeper, having been distracted by checking to see whether Van Dijk was in an offside position instead.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Referee David Coote during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. Brighton won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s meeting with Fulham offers them the chance to get back to Wembley for the first time since completing a domestic cup double back in 2021/22.

The return leg will be played two weeks later at Craven Cottage, where the hosts will be bidding to reach the final of the competition for the first time in their history.

There aren’t many popular referees at Anfield these days, but there will be little patience for Coote in the first leg if he makes any early mistakes.

He will be assisted from the touchlines by Timothy Wood and Wade Smith, while Tim Robinson stands in as the fourth official.