clueless: David Maddock rages at Everton controversy v Liverpool with a strong message to English FA

David Maddock slammed the “clueless” officiating in Saturday’s Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool.

Maddock argued in his Sunday Mirror editorial (22 October, page 69) that referee Craig Pawson lacked the authority to oversee such a high-profile duel because he had given VAR too much power over the game.


Everton lost 2-0 against Liverpool in a game marred by controversy, involving Michael Keane’s handball, Ashley Young’s second yellow card, and Ibrahima Konate’s lack of a red card.

Maddock wrote: “Craig Pawson is not a terrible referee. He appears to have a reasonable understanding of the game, certainly better than many of his brethren, and has a reasonable rapport with players and managers, which is crucial.

“Yet there were decisions here – or rather a total lack of them – which made him look clueless and totally devoid of that authority which any official must command to have any chance of officiating an encounter of this importance.”

While a result was not expected from Everton, the manner in which they were defeated will be extremely frustrating.

Maddock stated in his column that, once again, the lackluster officiating and questionable use of VAR are the key talking points from this historic match.

Keane’s handball was unquestionably a handball. While VAR wasted all of its time making an obvious decision, even the away supporters would have known. The ball was deflected into the box by Luis Diaz, but Keane’s outstretched arm was clearly visible.

Young’s second yellow was also contentious, with Pawson appearing to wait for confirmation from his earpiece before brandishing the card. Young’s initial booking was relatively minor, and considering the context of the challenges, both fouls together did not warrant a punishment.

Everton were on the back foot after that and had to dig deep to get anything out of the game. The defense was solid, and Sean Dyche’s men should be commended, but Liverpool’s attacking threat won out.

A Mohamed Salah brace sealed the Toffees’ fate, but they did not appear hopeless at any point throughout the game; rather, the paucity of bodies on the pitch restricted the possibility of a counter-attack.

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