LIVERPOOL - MAN UTD
Liverpool vs Man Utd referee Anthony Taylor faces safety risk
The appointment of Manchester-born Anthony Taylor to officiate United's game at Anfield has caused the former referee's chief, Keith Hackett, to express concern.
An "unfair" choice for a "very different" rivalry
Last week, the former referee chief Keith Hackett said that it was "grossly unfair" to give the big game at Anfield tonight to Anthony Taylor who, although a lower league Altrincham fan, comes from Manchester. He has now gone further in his column for the Daily Telegraph to say that the safety of the official and his family could actually be at risk if a controversial decision is key to the outcome of the game.
"There is a risk to his personal safety and that of his family after the game if something was to go wrong. That is not right. The fact he lives so close to Old Trafford means he has been put under unnecessary pressure and it could have been avoided if the game had been given to another referee from the Select Group.
"There are examples of referees being threatened in the past, with David Elleray having a panic button installed and Howard Webb, after a penalty kick award against Poland, had to have increased security for his family.
There have been lots of supportive remarks made in the run up to the game about the integrity and professionalism that Taylor brings to the games he takes charge of but Hackett was convinced that this rivalry surpasses the others:
"Liverpool versus United is very different," he said, "the passion of the fans creates a real atmosphere with every challenge questioned."
Mourinho talks, FA considers action
This comes on the back of comments made by United manager José Mourinho who was asked about the appointment:
"I think Mr Taylor is a very good referee but I think somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him that I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance,'' Mourinho said incurring a potential punishment from the FA due to their 2009 stipulation that managers cannot talk about the officials ahead of games.
Although the ex-Madrid, Chelsea, Inter and Porto manager often provokes criticism with potentially incendiary comments, he was quick to request respect from the fans for the game.
AS English are going to be live from Anfield and we'll make sure you know about any controversies as they happen. We're hoping all the talk is about the football, though.