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Paul Tierney, who has faced Jurgen Klopp in the past, has been selected to referee Liverpool’s game against Manchester United on Sunday.
The match is one of the most important meetings between the old rivals in several years and could have major implications for the Premier League title race. Liverpool are currently first, but United will start at the top of the competition if they avoid defeat during their match against Burnley on Tuesday.
The Reds are in bad shape by their own high standards, failing to post a win in each of their last three league games. The absences of starting center-back pair Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez may be starting to take its toll, but scoring just twice in their last three games is a concern.
As if Liverpool need more bad omens, they also have a history with Sunday’s referee Tierney. In July, the 40-year-old took over the Reds’ meeting with Aston Villa and faced Klopp.
The German objected that Tierney failed to detect a foul on Georginio Wijnaldum, sparking a verbal altercation midway through a match that Liverpool would ultimately win 2-0.
According to the Echo, the official responded to Klopp’s criticism by saying: “I missed it Jurgen. I’m like players, I’m going to make mistakes. I missed it. Get over it.”
Sunday will not be Tierney’s first time in charge of a Liverpool game this season. He was also the man in the middle when they faced Chelsea, when he fired Andreas Christensen for an untimely challenge on Sadio Mane, and Newcastle.
The Reds won’t have to wait long to get reacquainted with United after this weekend, as the two met in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday.