The referee and VAR appointments for the upcoming Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton have been confirmed. Craig Pawson will be the referee, and David Coote will serve as VAR. Stuart Burt is the assistant VAR, Thomas Bramall is the fourth official, and Marc Perry and Wade Smith will be the linesmen.
Notably, Darren England, the VAR official who made a controversial decision in Liverpool’s match against Tottenham, will not be involved in the Merseyside derby. England’s error in upholding an offside call against Luis Diaz had generated significant controversy. While there were initial reports that he would not officiate any Liverpool fixtures for the rest of the season, those reports have since been denied.
Despite not being part of the team for the Merseyside derby, Darren England will return to Premier League duties as the fourth official for the Brentford vs. Burnley match.
Craig Pawson, the appointed referee, has officiated 36 Liverpool games in his career, the most for any club aside from Leicester (40). The Reds have won 25 of those games under his refereeing, and Pawson has never sent off a Liverpool player. His most recent Liverpool game was the 3-0 win at Leicester in May.
The refereeing team will be under scrutiny, given the history of controversial decisions involving VAR, and the Merseyside derby is always a high-stakes and emotionally charged fixture.