Home News The truth behind claims Paul Tierney was DROPPED for Liverpool ‘error’

The truth behind claims Paul Tierney was DROPPED for Liverpool ‘error’

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In the bizarre fallout of Liverpool’s late 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest, it has been erroneously claimed that Paul Tierney was demoted from refereeing duty.

The furore over Tierney’s failure to hand a drop ball to Forest following a head injury to Ibrahima Konate – minutes before Darwin Nunez‘s 99th-minute winner – has been spectacular.

Ex-referee Mike Dean described the error as “monumental” while speaking to Sky Sports, while Mark Clattenburg, who now serves as Forest’s referee analyst, has worked to keep the decision in the spotlight.

In reality, it was a lapse as common as awarding the wrong side a throw-in, or signalling for a goal kick rather than a corner.

The real, monumental error was in not even awarding a free-kick for Ryan Yates’ studs planting on the side of Ibrahima Konate‘s head.

Tierney had already wrongly given Forest a drop ball for a previous incident in the game, but that has largely been overlooked in favour of headline-grabbing conspiracy theories.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 2, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the winning goal in the ninth minute of injury time during the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. Liverpool won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It has since been reported by a number of outlets that Tierney had been ‘dropped’ from refereeing duties for the upcoming weekend as a result.

The Times, for example, worded their headline to claim that the 43-year-old had been “switched” to VAR for Arsenal vs. Brentford on Saturday, inferring that he had initially been slated to work as a referee.

That has, of course, gained traction on social media, with the popular line being that Tierney had been demoted for his error.

But it is widely reported, including within Martyn Ziegler’s piece for the Times itself, that PGMOL are not viewing the appointment as a punishment.

Instead, as Ziegler explains, Tierney is simply “among a group of officials who regularly alternate between being referees and VARs.”

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 2, 2024: Liverpool's Jayden Danns is shown a yellow card by referee Paul Tierney during the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. Liverpool won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The last matchweek in which he was not selected as a referee was in mid-February – the week of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Burnley – when he was instead VAR for Luton vs. Sheffield United.

Tierney often pulls double duty over a round of fixtures, but this matchweek will be the 10th time of 28 (35.7%) this season in which he has not been selected as referee.

Twice he has not been involved in any capacity, while he is most often used as a VAR if not appointed for refereeing duties – and occasionally as fourth official.

While it can certainly be argued that referees should face punishment more often than the PGMOL appear to choose to do so, this is not one of those instances.

Either way, to suggest that Tierney had purposely favoured Liverpool given his history of run-ins with Jurgen Klopp – including during the Forest game itself – would be ridiculous.