It was announced this morning that Phil Dowd will be taking charge of this weekend's Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, a fact that will likely not inspire many Liverpool fans. This will be the ninth EPL match for Dowd this season; he's handed out 29 yellows and zero reds this season, and has yet to award a penalty. His last match in charge was Manchester City's 7-0 drubbing of Norwich City.
The club hasn't had the greatest luck with Dowd holding the whistle recently, losing four out of the last five matches they've played with him on the pitch. That includes the heartbreaking loss to Southampton last March and the dire opener against West Brom last season. Dowd certainly didn't do anything to earn the admiration of Liverpool fans on those days, most notably in the West Brom match that saw him hand out four yellows and a red to Liverpool players, as well as a dubious penalty call for West Brom. Also in that run is the FA Cup final against Chelsea, which... yeah, let's forget about that.
While he's generally considered to be a good ref, Dowd also has a reputation for completely losing the plot from time to time. He's also far too confrontational and argumentative with players for many people, which can lead to tempers flaring further instead of calming them. Not exactly the type of thing you want to have happening in a derby.
This will be the 41st time Dowd has been tapped for a Liverpool match, the most times he's taken charge of any club's matches. Despite the recent history, Liverpool actually have been rather successful with him calling the shots, with a 17-11-12 record and eight penalties given, the most he's award to any club. He's booked Liverpool players 58 times, with three sent off (one for a straight red, the others for multiple yellows).
Interestingly, the club that Dowd has has reffed for the second-most number of times is Everton, who he's overseen 38 times. They've earned a 16-9-13 record in those matches, and have been awarded four penalties. Despite the high number of matches he's run for both clubs, this will be just the fourth Merseyside Derby Dowd has taken charge of; the last one he oversaw was the 3-0 drubbing that Liverpool and a resplendent Steven Gerrard handed to Everton at Anfield on March 30th of 2012.