David Coote has been replaced as VAR official for Sunday’s Premier League game between Liverpool and Leicester, after his controversial role in last month’s Merseyside derby.
Liverpool fans were enraged by VAR official Coote’s decisions in the game against Everton. His most controversial moment came though after he failed to send off Jordan Pickford following a challenge on Virgil van Dijk. The towering Dutch defender suffered a serious ACL injury as a result and will now likely miss the rest of the season.
Coote then oversaw the VAR decision that ruled out Jordan Henderson’s last-minute winner. That came about after a tight off-side decision against Sadio Mane left Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp bewildered.
Coote is reported to have received threats after those incidents. As a result, his appointment to take charge of VAR for the Leicester game on Sunday raised a few eyebrows.
Now it has been confirmed that the official has been removed from the game. Referee chiefs at the PGMOL have described as ‘operational reasons’. He has been replaced by Andre Marriner in the VAR seat.
The decision has sparked suggestions that Coote’s controversial role in the Merseyside derby is the reason for his removal. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville questioned the decision in a message on Twitter.
Coote will now be referee for Manchester United’s home game against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Questions now linger over whether he will work on Liverpool games in the future.
Eight academy stars promoted to first team
Klopp, meanwhile, promoted eight academy players into first-team training this week with a large number of his senior stars on international duty.
The Liverpool boss is facing an uncomfortable time with injuries at the moment. The Reds have just moved into their new £50m AXA Training Centre at Kirkby. And Klopp gave some of his talented youngsters the chance to impress there.
Young goalkeepers Vitezslav Jaros, Marcelo Pitaluga and Jakub Ojrzynski were all handed the chance to impress Klopp.
Rhys Williams, who has stepped in to deputise for Van Dijk this season, is also on the treatment table. He was left out of the England Under-21s’ latest squad with a hip problem.
It meant that Klopp also had a look at 18-year-old defender Billy Koumetio.
James Milner was joined by midfielders Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson. Attackers Paul Glatzel and Luis Longstaff were also afforded time at Kirby.
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