Stoke – (A) Mark Clattenburg.
This was the first time Liverpool have been refereed by Mr Clattenburg for some time and it was a welcome return to the middle for the County Durham man, who had a fine match and confirmed his position as one of the best referees currently officiating in the Premier League.
One of the main criticisms of playing at Stoke surrounds the ‘gamesmanship’ employed by the pitch being narrowed and the grass seemingly being allowed to grow a little longer. The FA stipulate a pitch must be between a minimum 90 m (100 yds) and a maximum 120 m (130 yds) in length, and the width must be between a minimum 45 m (50 yds) and a maximum 90 m (100 yds). The Britannia Stadium has an available pitch size of 100 m (110 yds) x 64 m (70 yds) [compared to Anfield’s 101 m x 68 m]. However Stoke do not list the actual playing surface size on a game by game basis. The issue of length of grass is purely a question for the referee to decide. As long as he is satisfied that the ball ‘rolls’ and as such the surface is ‘playable’ then he must play the game and report any concerns to the authorities in his match report.
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