Before virtually any game of football nowadays, but especially before a significant match against a major rival, fans will always ask the above question (not least around here, eh Neu?!).
But does it matter? Do any of them appear particularly pro- or anti-Liverpool? This article will provide you with the stats, but you will have to make your own mind up; the main thing to remember when reading this is that: there is no way to prove any bias on the part of referees, and this is not an attempt to do so. This has been compiled as people have shown an interest in the figures following a number of online articles about refereeing recently, and is intended to be taken for the light-hearted (albeit statistically accurate) piece it is.
To assess the refs, I have looked at three statistics: penalties, yellow cards, and sending-offs, both in favour of and against Liverpool. Of course, a big part of debating a referee’s performance is arguing over the “that was a nailed on penalty, ref” calls; the ones that got away, in other words. Needless to say, statistics on things that don’t happen are thin on the ground, so we’ll have to make do with what I have been able to track down.
I have limited the assessment to the eight refs currently working in the Premier League that have refereed Liverpool on at least ten occasions, to try to ensure a decent sample size. This excludes the likes of Kevin Friend and Mike Jones, who have only officiated fourteen Reds matches between them, and Chris Foy and Mike Dean, who as they originate from Merseyside have never (and presumably never will) referee a Liverpool match.
I’ve also not looked at refs who are now retired; whilst it would be interesting, it’s of no use for future games (though just in case you are wondering, I can reveal that Dermot Gallagher and Steve Bennett never awarded a penalty against Liverpool in 36 and 31 games respectively, and Graham Barber took charge of the most Liverpool matches without brandishing a red to a Red: 21).
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