Despite their domination of English football in the last year, Manchester City have failed to win any of their previous three games under Martin Atkinson, who has been named referee for the Blues’ trip to Liverpool on Sunday.
The Premier League announced that 47-year-old Atkinson will be the man in charge of Liverpool vs. City and Blues may be worried of more dodgy decisions in Liverpool’s favour, something that certainly benefited them in the Champions League two-legged tie last year.
City have not won at Anfield since a late Nicolas Anelka strike in 2003 so naturally there will be pessimism among the fan base heading into the Liverpool game, and the hope will be Atkinson puts in a good performance with VAR still not in effect in the Premier League.
City were held to a 1-1 draw by Wolves earlier this season under Atkinson’s watch and Wolves’ handball goal should not have stood – although that was more the fault of the assistant referee than Atkinson.
Last season, Atkinson was in charge of the Manchester derby we’d rather forget, as City dropped a 2-0 half-time lead to lose 3-2 to neighbours Manchester United on a day they could have clinched the title at home. Atkinson failed to produce a red card to Ashley Young for a horror tackle that injured Sergio Aguero in that game.
Prior to that, he was in charge as City were held 1-1 by Burnley at Turf Moor in February, and City’s last win when Atkinson had the whistle came earlier in the 2017-18 season when Kevin De Bruyne struck to give Pep Guardiola’s men a 1-0 away win at Chelsea.
Sunday’s opposition Liverpool won twice (Stoke away and Southampton away) and drew twice (Manchester United home and Arsenal away) under Atkinson last season, and the City clash will be their first with him this season.
Full list of appointments for Liverpool vs. Manchester City (October 7):
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Lee Betts
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell