Martin Atkinson had the honour of refereeing his second Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool. The professional referee from West Yorkshire had to deal with the expected tough game...He was assisted by Cann and Mullarkey who did their job well.
..were quite interesting before the match: on the one hand, there were 10 red cards in the last 13 Merseyside derbies, on the other hand, the FA designated a referee who showed 3 red cards in 6 matches in this Premier League season prior to this match. Two facts that indicated a colourful match.
The penalty, which was however not converted by Kuyt, was absolutely correct. The most important call of the match was in the 23rd minute when Atkinson - to the surprise of all - sent Everton's Rodwell off. The straight red seemed to be too harsh at first glance. It was a foot-up tackle, Suarez was however not really hit, the only aim of Rodwell was the ball. One has to talk about Suarez who jumped very theatrically. You can argue that is was no red card but I personally think that - if Suarez does not jump - his leg or fibula could have been in serious danger. It was certainly not Rodwell's intention. I think that one should protect Atkinson in this case, I would have preferred no red card as the tackle was clearly aimed at the ball. Finally, after having seen the situation several time, I agree, no red card needed. Giving a free kick for dangerous play and everyone is content. The TV commentator even wondered whether it was a foul, I think yes, it was a foul.
No common derby
I have never seen a derby before where supporters of both teams, Everton and Liverpool, are able to stand together in the tribunes and can shiver together. If I compare that to other derbies in the world, in GER or in ITA, it is a welcome change.