While Liverpool’s players put in a performance to be proud of, the Premier League’s referee problem reared its head once again…


THERE’S much to love about football.

Yes, there’s the glory of victory but, though we seldom admit it, there’s something noble about a narrow defeat where you know your lads have expended every single calorie possible to get over the line before fate stepped in. If they give their all, you love and cherish them. You can live with that sort of defeat. Sort of.

Liverpool are fantastic. Spurs are entertaining and you can see why they’re a better team now, but Liverpool are a fantastic side. Without intervention, it should have been a brilliant game. It should have been about 22 men on the pitch, battling it out. But come the end it was all about the 23rd and the lads in a retail park near Uxbridge.

There’s also a lot to dislike about football.

The PGMOL, VAR, people sitting in big chairs commentating on something you can’t see (that’s a personal one), official ineptitude, officially inept ‘apologies’, blazers, experts on the radio who have never worn jeans to the match etc.

And Simon Hooper.

I’ve always thought it was a bit of a copout to blame the ref. All a bit Clive Thomas, and let’s be honest, sometimes a bad ref can paper over the cracks of a weak performance. A nice tool to justify a disappointing result.

Marseille v Liverpool 2004, for example, when Gerard Houllier’s Reds went down to a poor penalty decision, but were nowhere near good enough to see off Drogba and his mates. Saturday was different.

The Reds got off the canvas more often than Rocky. A red card, a legitimate goal wiped off and then a goal down? 

Yeah, go on. 1-1. Have that. 

Okay. A second sending off, lads getting slapped in the face and others calling for yellow cards while being on a yellow themselves (a bookable office in itself). Yeah. Alright. 96 minutes and still level.

Honestly, it was like the scene in Sherlock where Magnusson flicks Watson in the face over and over again because he knows our hero can do nothing about it. Our faces were flicked at every available opportunity. Andy Robertson’s yellow, Wataru Endo getting a hand in the face, Mo Salah being booked for winning the ball, the challenge on Joe Gomez…

I honestly thought he was going to book Cody Gakpo for feigning injury.

A full 96 minutes of being under the cosh and being brilliant at it. The goalkeeper unreal. Heroes.

And then Joel Matip happens. Jesus, he was great that night. He didn’t deserve that. The game ends.

But we haven’t finished yet. There’s another flick incoming. There’s the ‘yeah, we got that wrong and you can’t do anything about it and we’re certainly not’ non-apology. Any chance of replaying the game? Giving us the goal? Behave.

Games decided by blazers. That’s the worst thing about modern football. Faceless officials hiding behind a press release when it goes wrong. So harsh when our lads put so much into that game. All signed off and put to bed. 

You shouldn’t know the name of the ref, but the face of Simon Hooper will always appear in my head when the words ‘totally out of control and out of depth’ are heard.

I fully expect to see him at the AMEX next week. With Paul Tierney on VAR.

But then there’s more. Darren England — another name for the ages — said ‘check complete’ instead of ‘nah, he’s onside’ and they carry on! There’s footage of Hooper stopping the game and hearing the news that they’ve made a mistake and maybe that this is the time to do something about it. No. Play on.

Flick, flick, flick.

But we can’t win. And, in many quarters, this game will be put to bed as the travesty it was. Nothing will be said about Liverpool and their strength and character when faced with all of that shite. We were fantastic.

I don’t like talk of corruption, but if that’s the only way they can stop us…

I wish football were about footballers again. I can live with losing games to a team, not to an official with what looked like a grudge.

And we know what would happen. Fans of other clubs would look at this and talk about ‘whinging Scousers.’ Though it was Saturday, this isn’t always about us. There are lads massively out of their depth deciding what your weekend mood will be and they’re shit at it.

Respect the ref, yeah?

Spurs 2 Liverpool 1*


Fight on, Liverpool. Always fight on. If that’s the only way to stop us I’d rather be on our side than theirs regardless of how many times they shaft us. Always.


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