Refereeing the Merseyside derby is one of the biggest tasks officials can be given, and it’s been handed to Simon Hooper for the second clash between Everton and Liverpool this season.
This is Hooper’s fifth season as a Premier League regular and he’s refereed a number of big matches in that time, but it doesn’t get much bigger than one of the world’s fiercest rivalries.
Here’s what’s happened when he’s been on the pitch with Liverpool and Everton in the past.
Hooper has been given three Liverpool matches in his career and they’ve all proven to be relatively tame affairs, with him handing out one yellow card and no reds across those games.
The biggest decision he made in them was awarding Shrewsbury a penalty in the FA Cup clash between the two sides, one that kickstarted their comeback from 2-0 down. It was a controversial decision too, with the foul seemingly being made just outside the box.
Liverpool ultimately drew that match 2-2, being forced to play a replay, but won the other two, beating Southampton 3-1 and Burton 5-0 in the Premier League and Carabao Cup respectively.
Everton have had games refereed by Hooper on seven occasions, and most of those have been quiet affairs in terms of bookings.
The only time he gave out more than just one yellow was in the most recent one, with him handing out three cautions in the Premier League clash between the Toffees and Crystal Palace earlier this season and infuriating Everton fans in the process, with them feeling his decisions favoured the visitors.
He didn’t award any penalties in the seven matches, four of which the Merseyside club won, with just two ending in defeat.
Hooper has never refereed the Merseyside derby but does have experience in local derbies, being given Aston Villa vs Birmingham and Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday in the past.
He handed out just one yellow in the former fixture and two in the latter, not showing any reds or any sign of the occasion getting the better of him.