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Howard Webb to ref United v Liverpool

Webb takes charge of Sunday’s meeting between the two north-west rivals at Old Trafford.

Webb: in the middle on Sunday.
Webb: in the middle on Sunday.
Image: Nigel French/PA Archive/Press Association Images

HOWARD WEBB HAS been appointed to referee Sunday’s Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

United go into the game against their north-west rivals seven points clear at the top of the table while Liverpool are eighth following back-t0-back wins in their last two league games.

It is the first time that Webb will take charge of a match between the sides since January 2011 when Ryan Giggs’s second-minute penalty gave United a 1-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off in the first half while winger Ryan Babel was later charged with improper conduct and fined £10,000 by the FA after he posted a photoshopped image of Webb in a United jersey to Twitter.

Since then the traditionally fierce rivalry between English football’s most successful clubs has grown even more bitter, fuelled by the fall-out from the October 2011 league game which saw Liverpool striker Luis Suarez banned for eight matches for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra.

But an atmosphere of mutual respect largely prevailed between fans during the most recent meeting, a 2-1 league win for United at Anfield in September, as both clubs joined together to mark the publication of an independent report into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster and remember the 96 victims of the tragedy.

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Niall Kelly

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