The Premier League have announced the referees for next week’s round of games and Martin Atkinson is set to oversee proceedings at Goodison Park for the Merseyside Derby. We’re going to have see how this one plays out – based on Divock Origi’s 96th minute winner last time out, anything could happen.
We’ve got recent (and much longer) history with Atkinson and his whistle… In January, we played out a 1-1 draw with Leicester City under his officiating where he faced the ire of Jurgen Klopp for waving away Naby Keïta’s clear penalty claims; not to mention only showing a yellow to Harry Maguire for his cynical half-way line tripping of Sadio Mané.
Atkinson has already been in charge of our chess-like 0-0 against Manchester City this season, and the rather more eventful 3-1 victory against Manchester United at Anfield.
Even though this will be the fourth game he referees for us this season, it certainly won’t be his first Merseyside Derby…
Atkinson was the referee in Brendan Rodgers’ last game as Liverpool boss in October 2015, when we played out a 1-1 draw at Goodison. To jog your memory, Romelu Lukaku and Danny Ings were the scorers on the day and we woke up manager-less a few days’ later.
Atkinson also refereed another 1-1 derby in September 2014, and was the man in charge when we thrashed Everton 4-0 in January 2014!
But perhaps most controversially, back in October 2011 Atkinson was the man in black in a white-hot encounter at Goodison; Jack Rodwell (of Sunderland infamy) was sent off for a high boot on Luis Suárez and we ran out 2-0 victors on the day.
Atkinson has taken charge of two games at Goodison so far this season, which have both ended in home defeats for the Blues against West Ham and Leicester.
Hopefully, when we travel across Stanley Park on Sunday, we’ll see some proper, bold refereeing and no hesitant or safe decisions. We need a win against them at the weekend: nothing less will do.