Ex-Premier League referee wowed by 'terrific spot' as controversial Van Dijk footage emerges from Liverpool
Keith Hackett has heaped praise on referee David Coote for his performance as Liverpool beat Shrewsbury Town 4-1 yesterday (9 January).
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee claimed Coote set the standard at Anfield that he has to reach week in, week out in the Premier League.
The referee’s biggest decision came when he awarded Liverpool a penalty for a handball by Ethan Ebanks-Landell when he challenged for a ball with Virgil van Dijk.
As shown on the highlights posted to the FA Cup’s YouTube channel, Fabinho whipped in a free-kick and Van Dijk could not meet it because of Ebanks-Landell’s intervention.
“It was a really terrific spot by David Coote,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
“I thought he had a very good game, he looked more relaxed.
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“I had the impression, when I was refereeing, that Liverpool was one of the smaller pitches. It doesn’t give you that impression in the ground. I always thought it was tight and compact, you were not running to long corners that are miles away. That helps the referee.
“In fairness to him, he looked relaxed. This is the standard he’s expected to produce week in, week out.
“I think this referee has been affected by the relationship of himself and VAR in some games.
“I don’t think he’s lazy, he’s hesitated. He has to build his own confidence. Be confident and do the job you can do. I was praising him three or four years ago as a guy that’s got great potential and he failed to deliver.
“He looked relaxed, wasn’t under pressure and officiated really well.”