Football

Official praise should shine on Taylor

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In the twilight of Liverpool's win over Blackburn Rovers, Sky Sports' co-commentator David Proven was called upon to decide on the man-of-the-match award.

A thankless task at the best of times, but the former Scottish international had a tough task choosing a player from a contest brimming with drama. Amid all the chaos of the 94 minutes, instead of opting with Rovers striker Yakubu, he'd have been better off choosing referee Anthony Taylor.

I am of course being overwhelmingly facetious; never would an official claim an award meant for a player, but such was Taylor's performance in a high pressure cauldron of a Premier League encounter, that he deserves some recognition.

His performance came after a weekend where officials had been subject to a torrent of abuse from the media. Regardless of the way the Football Association have reacted retrospectively, the standard of refereeing was questioned on a number of occasions. Taylor could easily have gone under on Tuesday night.

Referee's are rightly judged on how they rule on big decisions, and at every turn, Taylor called it correctly.

His positioning was superb throughout, picking Brad Jones' foul on Yakubu, and Craig Bellamy's dive following Bradley Orr's lunge, two of the more challenging calls he was forced into.

Even in the final minutes, he correctly ruled that Martin Skrtel's coming together with Grant Hanley wasn't decisive in Andy Carroll's headed winner, which saw Jason Lowe play the England international onside.

If the media are quick to criticise officials for making critical errors, then when they get those same big decision correct, shouldn't they be praised to the heavens?

Taylor leads a new breed of officials in the Premier League, a list that also includes Michael Oliver and Mark Clattenburg, and the trio are quickly becoming the division's strongest officials behind World Cup final referee Howard Webb.

Following a weekend where officials, and often correctly so, were scrutinised for poor decisions, let's hope that when referees do step up to the plate and perform excellently, that they're given the attention they deserve.

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Premier League

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