Referee and VAR confirmed for Liverpool vs Manchester United

Michael Oliver has been confirmed as the referee for Liverpool's clash with Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds go into one of the most hotly anticipated games of the season top of the Premier League table after beating Crystal Palace last Saturday to leapfrog Arsenal into first place.

Meanwhile, Manchester United's shock 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth leaves them in sixth place, ten points behind Liverpool after 16 games.

Jurgen Klopp's side go into the weekend strong favourites on form, while memories of last season's 7-0 remain in the forefront of fans' minds.

Liverpool vs United is always a feisty affair and the Premier League has now confirmed that 38-year-old Oliver will be the man in charge of keeping tensions under control as the match official.

Stuart Burt and Dan Cook will be Oliver's assistants, while John Brooks and Simon Long will be at Stockley Park in charge of VAR.

Anthony Taylor will be the fourth official.

Michael Oliver's record in Liverpool games

Generally regarded as one of the Premier League's better referees, having officiated two FA Cup finals, as well as Champions League and World Cup ties, Sunday's meeting will mark Oliver's 60th time in charge of a match involving Liverpool.

The Northumberland-born referee has actually helmed more Reds games than any other club in his career.

Over the years, Liverpool have won 29 times, drawn 17 and lost 13 of the games in which Oliver has refereed.

Somewhat remarkably, there has only been one red card dished out across those 59 games, while there have been 15 penalties awarded.

This meeting will also mark the sixth time that Oliver has officiated a Liverpool vs Manchester United fixture – with Jurgen Klopp's side only winning once before.

Despite his reputation, Oliver has gotten on the wrong side of Klopp previously, with the Reds' boss questioning his performance during the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal last season.

"On Sky Sports' Ref Watch, when Mr Dermot [Gallagher] twice says the decision was wrong by the best English referee Michael Oliver... the TV ref usually always says exactly what the ref decided was right," Klopp told reporters (via Sky Sports) after a defeat littered with controversial incidents.

"We lost it in the way we lost it so now it's difficult to judge, so what did we miss in this specific game? Just the right ref decisions would have been helpful, to be 100 per cent honest, then we could judge the game."

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 30, 2023: A goal scored by Liverpool's Luis Díaz, given on the pitch as offside, is mistakenly confiemd by VAR who believe the onfield decision was a goal, during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Interestingly, this weekend's match will also be the first time Dan Cook has been involved in a Reds game since his part in the VAR blunder that led to Luis Diaz's legitimate goal not being given during the highly contentious defeat to Tottenham.

Cook was the Assistant VAR that night, and was stood down from Premier League duties following the incident at the end of September, before returning to action later in October.

MATCH OFFICIALS FOR LIVERPOOL VS MANCHESTER UNITED – 17/12/2023

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistants: Stuart Burt, Dan Cook

Fourth official: Anthony Taylor

VAR: John Brooks

Assistant VAR: Simon Long

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