The Premier League has confirmed a major change ahead of Liverpool’s clash against Leicester this weekend. Jurgen Klopp’s stars return to domestic action when former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers takes his league leaders to Anfield on Sunday night.
Liverpool go into the game in the midst of a defensive injury crisis, with Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold both having joined Virgil van Dijk on the sidelines over the past fortnight.
Van Dijk will potentially miss the rest of the season after rupturing his ACL following a challenge from Jordan Pickford during the controversial clash against Everton at Goodison Park last month.
David Coote came under fire for his performance as the video assistant referee for the Merseyside derby, after Pickford’s lunge went unpunished and a stoppage-time effort from Jordan Henderson was ruled out de to a contentious offside call.
Coote was also due to take charge of VAR duties for Sunday’s showdown against the Foxes, but the Premier League has now confirmed that he will be replaced in the Stockley Park hotseat by Andre Marriner.
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Coote will not form part of the match officials team for the Anfield clash, and will instead be at Old Trafford on Saturday for Manchester United’s game against West Brom.
The Premier League confirmed to the Liverpool Echo that Coote had been replaced by Marriner, but did not detail the reasons why.
However, the Echo understands that the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) has taken the decision ‘for operational reasons’.
Nottinghamshire official Coote was criticised following Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison last month.
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No penalty or red card was given against Pickford for his challenge on Van Dijk, after the Liverpool defender was adjudged to be offside in the lead-up to the foul.
It was reported at the time that the officials made an error by not looking further into the tackle by Pickford because they were focusing on the offside call.
Liverpool were also left fuming when a highly debatable offside call was given against Sadio Mane, who set up Henderson for what would have been a dramatic last-gasp winner.
After the game, Liverpool wrote to the Premier League to formally request an assessment of the failure to scrutinise the challenge from Pickford.
The Reds also asked for clarity on which part of Mane’s body was deemed to be offside in the lead-up to Henderson’s effort being ruled out.
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Coote has not overseen a Liverpool game since the controversial derby.
The Premier League champions have eight players on the sidelines ahead of Sunday’s game.
Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all on the injury list along with Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold going into the international break.
Gomez is out for several months after injuring his knee on England duty, while Henderson has returned to his club after struggling with a muscle problem.
And on Tuesday night, young defender Rhys Williams was left out of the England Under-21s squad to face Albania due to a hip problem.
But there was good news for Liverpool on Wednesday night as Andy Robertson played the full 90 minutes of Scotland’s defeat to Israel having suffered a hamstring injury last week.
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