Planet Sport looks at Taylor and Tierney, the two men who could decide the title race

Planet Sport looks at Taylor and Tierney, the two men who could decide the title race

On Tuesday, the clash was made somewhat spicier by the announcement that Anthony Taylor and Paul Tierney, two men from within Greater Manchester, will take on the roles of on-field referee and VAR, respectively.

Planet Sport looks at each of their past records, as well as what the tie has thrown up in the past, as we wait in eager anticipation of Sunday’s blockbuster.

The on-field referee: Anthony Taylor

Taylor was born in Wythenshawe, and has been a Premier League referee since 2010. He has taken charge of 47 matches involving the Reds during those 12 years, and the Merseysiders have won 27, drawn 11, and lost nine of those games.

He has sent off two Liverpool players across those 47 games, and only one of them was a straight red. German midfielder Emre Can was given his marching orders in a 4-1 loss to Arsenal in 2015, while Brazilian goalkeeper Alexander Doni was sent off in a 3-2 victory over Blackburn three years prior to that.

By comparison, he has officiated 31 City matches, dishing out three red cards – two of which came in the same game. He dismissed both Argentine striker Sergio Aguero and Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho in added time of a 3-1 loss to Chelsea in 2016, before sending off English midfielder Fabian Delph in a 1-0 FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Wigan Athletic in 2018.

Anthony Taylor points to the spot Man City vs Man Utd Mar21

Furthermore, Taylor has awarded Liverpool 11 penalties in his career, the most of any side he has officiated, and has given City just five. Even accounting for the difference in matches, that still stands at 0.234 penalties per game for Liverpool, and – in a vaguely interesting quirk, given the city’s telephone area code – 0.161 penalties per game for Manchester City.

This season, he has taken charge of 22 Premier League matches as an on-field referee, dishing out 81 yellow cards and four reds.

The VAR: Paul Tierney

Jurgen Klopp Paul Tierney Liverpook anger Dec21

Tierney is two years younger than Taylor at 41, and hails from Wigan, just inside Greater Manchester and 27 miles to the north-west of Taylor’s birthplace.

As an on-field referee, he has taken charge of 18 Liverpool matches during his career and has seen the Reds win ten of them, alongside drawing six and losing two.

As a VAR, he has overseen seven games involving Jurgen Klopp’s men, of which they have won five and drawn the other two.

When it comes to City, he has officiated 21 matches as the on-field man, of which they have won 18, drawn one, and lost two.

As the all-seeing VAR, he has formed part of the officiating team for six City games, and they have won four and drawn two of those.

The game on Sunday could of course end all square, but Tierney may be about to see either City or Liverpool lose from the VAR room for the first time.

He has never dismissed a City player as an on-field referee, in comparison to one Liverpool player. That was Andy Robertson in the last Reds match he took charge of, a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in December, and there was much controversy over his decision not to also dismiss Spurs’ Harry Kane for a similarly bad tackle. Klopp was picked up telling him after full-time that he ‘has no issues with other referees, only you’. Spicy.

Manchester City vs Liverpool

Anthony Taylor Pep Guardiola Jan19

Although this fixture has always had an air of rivalry about it, given the two cities’ past, it is only recently it has taken on the kind of title-deciding significance we have come to associate it with.

Taylor has previously officiated the clash on three occasions, with City winning two and the other ending in a draw. The most recent time he took charge of this fixture came when Pep Guardiola‘s men won 4-0 in July 2020, with that following a 2-1 City win at the Etihad in 2019 and a 2-2 draw in 2013.

Tierney took charge of the reverse match this season, a 2-2 draw at Anfield, and was also previously the VAR for a 1-1 league draw at the Etihad between the sides in 2020. That is, however, his only prior experience of this particular fixture.

He has past experience of Manchester vs Liverpool clashes, too, having taken charge of the last two Premier League meetings between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The Merseyside club ran out comfortable 5-0 victors this season to back up a 4-2 win earlier in 2021.

The most notable prior moment of controversy in this clash came in a 2019 meeting at Anfield which Liverpool won 3-1. City felt aggrieved that just before Fabinho netted Liverpool’s opener, Trent Alexander-Arnold went unpunished for what looked like a clear handball. Guardiola was famously left screaming ‘twice!’ at the Merseyside sky as the Reds went on to win the title that year.

READ MORE: The Big Six’s worst-ever finishes in the Premier League era, featuring Moyes, Ardiles and Walsall

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