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Referee for Fulham vs. Liverpool will annoy fans – and there’s no VAR


Next week’s huge cup clash against Fulham will be reliant solely on on-pitch decisions, and the man in charge of those isn’t a popular one among Liverpool supporters.

The Reds travel to Craven Cottage on Wednesday night hoping to make their second League Cup final in three seasons.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side hold a narrow 2-1 advantage heading into the second leg, with just 90 minutes separating them from another date at Wembley next month.

Simon Hooper is the man in the middle for the return fixture, and there has been no shortage of controversy involving him in recent times.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 30, 2023: Referee Simon Hooper is all smiles during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The official was at the centre of the farcical errors that led to Luis Diaz‘s legitimate goal away to Tottenham not being allowed to stand back in September.

In Hooper’s defence, the majority of the blame for that particular incident could be pointed towards VAR Darren England, but there were plenty of other bizarre calls during the game aside from that.

He will not have technology to call upon on this occasion, however, with the game being played without the inclusion of VAR.

The League Cup had been scheduled to introduce VAR at this stage of the competition, but Middlesbrough‘s progression to the semi-final has meant that only the showpiece at Wembley will involve help from Stockley Park.

Middlesbrough currently sit 10th in the Championship, but the second tier of English football does not operate with the technology and therefore it could not be used at the Riverside in their first leg against Chelsea.

To keep a level playing field, the EFL determined that none of the semi-final matches would be played with VAR, just the final at the end of February.

It means Liverpool are reliant on Hooper improving upon the standards of his questionable showing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium three and a half months ago.

He will be assisted from the touchlines by Adrian Holmes and Simon Long, with Tony Harrington the man tasked with fourth official duties.