Paul Tomkins, Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes and other TTT regulars will give their thoughts on the match for 24 hours after the game, so the article received via email is unlikely to be the final version. There's statistics from the match and videos too.
An excellent second-half against the organised and well-drilled 12 men of Wolves, led by the impeccable Paul Tierney, who is perhaps the one man in football that does the most to stop Liverpool win games of football. For any betting syndicates out there, pay attention.
Before praising what the Reds had to do to overcome a ref (whose assistant on VAR is the other official I have severe concerns about, based on data), I want to run a few stats past you.
Liverpool – no league penalty in the last 32 league games (going back to the start of April last season, which Fabinho scored against Watford) – were again given the referee they get the most – Paul Tierney – who, now in 24 games, has never given Liverpool a single penalty.
And yet in 26 and 22 games as ref for the two Manchester clubs, he has given City six and United six. If you're from Manchester, come and get your penalties! If you're Liverpool? Piss off!
When he refs Liverpool, their win rate massively drops. When he refs Man City, they almost always win (even more than usual). For both Manchester clubs, results improve from normal when he does them.
Is being from Wigan a problem for this ref who has "done" Liverpool five times this season?
This is the ref that could see with his VAR the foul by Jota, but not Jota being pushed first, which took him into the Wolves defender; just as he couldn't see Jota being sideswiped at Spurs last season, with the force of a 10-ton truck.
The ref who, as a VAR, has never given Liverpool a single subjective decision (only offsides – at least he can draw the lines), but several soft subjective calls against, to rule out goals.
The ref who today, after a ludicrous early booking for Stefan Bajcetic, booked Fabinho for being on the receiving end of a launched two-footed tackle, and also said play-on after a scissors follow-through on Jota just because the Wolves centre-back won the ball.
He's also sent off more Liverpool players than opposition players, despite Liverpool winning the fair play award every season. Basically, if he does Liverpool games, place your bets on the opposition, as he tips the odds.
Win-rates if Tierney does your games, in sample sizes of over 20 each, prior to tonight:
Manchester City 88.5% (better than normal)
Manchester United 63.6% (better than normal)
Liverpool 50.0% (way worse than normal)
I don't want to see refs harassed or abused, but their data should be analysed, their performances judged, before they waltz off with £200,000-a-year or more in some cases. They need to be accountable. Some refs should not be in the job, or officiating for certain teams, if they cannot be objectively fair.
So why do Liverpool keep getting Tierney?
The club should complain, as his data is very fishy. I would accuse him of trying to not look like he's favouring Liverpool – a weakling's position – rather than anything more sinister, but he seems to genuinely hurt Liverpool's results, and the balance of decisions he gives is baffling.
Look at the data, or look at the videos.
(As I’ve said before, I had doubts about Anthony Taylor, but his Liverpool data looks normal – not generous, mind – and so I’m happy to point out that he’s one of the good referees. I don’t want generous refs, just refs who give Liverpool something.)
And yet Tierney has already done five Liverpool games as ref this season and more as VAR, when some top refs have done Liverpool just once. This is insane.
If you don't equally mix up the refs between all clubs (bar those who cannot do specific teams), you get the same ones with the same issues, time after time.
You get radically different styles of refereeing across the board, as seen in the data (huge gulfs in fouls given, cards given, penalties given), so it corrupts the game if you don't share the refs out equally, to spread their idiosyncrasies.
Maybe he also just hates Jurgen Klopp (almost certain), perhaps because Klopp can spot an amateur when he sees one. He’s also the only ref who gives more fouls against Mo Salah, an elite attacker who is constantly fouled, than for him.
Thankfully, after Tierney and his inept pal Stuart Attwell ruled out Darwin Núñez's joyful opener, the Reds rammed in two more, that even these goons couldn't rule out. Having shed some of the worst ones in the summer, the Reds are now stuck with Tierney, Attwell and Darren England; but almost never Craig Pawson, who seems to be a senior ref. Weird.
Anyway, the 2-0 win was fully deserved, ahead of the visit of Manchester United (at least Tierney isn't the ref for that). This was an increasingly good display that mixed great contributions from young, new and old, and after edging the first half, the Reds ran all over the 12-men of Wolves.
I'll get onto the football now, as much as Tierney tried to destroy the match.
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