Last month’s match against Everton saw Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk receive a season-ending injury as the result of a reckless, knee-high, studs-up lunge by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford that appeared to go unreviewed by VAR official David Coote.
Unsurprisingly, then, when it was announced that Coote would again be taking charge of video assistant referee duties for a Liverpool match, this time against Leicester City on Sunday, the reaction of Liverpool fans was shock and annoyance.
Today, though, the league have announced a change to their weekend plans: Coote will instead be refereeing the Saturday match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United, and Andre Marriner will be taking charge of VAR at Anfield.
However, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, or PGMOL, insist that Coote’s widely criticized performance the last time he manned the VAR booth—which was, of course, also for a Liverpool match—has nothing to do with it.
Instead, it’s said to be down to “operational reasons” and that he’s needed on an earlier match. And no matter the how or why of it, such is the state of refereeing in the Premier League it’s hard to know if fans will find any comfort in the switch.