Martin Atkinson angers Liverpool fans for his role in Lewis Dunk’s free-kick

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Liverpool are now the overwhelming favourites to win this season’s Premier League title after extending their lead at the top of the table.

After Manchester City drew 2-2 with Newcastle United earlier on Saturday, the Reds knew that a home win over Brighton would see them move 11 points clear.

They got the job done - thanks to a first-half brace from Virgil van Dijk - although they were forced to endure a nervy final 15 minutes after Alisson was sent off.

The Brazilian goalkeeper handled the ball outside the penalty area, which earned him a straight red card from referee Martin Atkinson.

Brighton then pulled a goal back through a rather controversial free-kick from Lewis Dunk.

Now, Liverpool fans weren’t big fans of Atkinson prior to this match - but their opinion of the experienced match official has fallen even further after he allowed Dunk to take his free-kick before the Reds’ wall had been set up.

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Substitute goalkeeper Adrian was busy organising the wall in front of him when Atkinson blew his whistle, allowing Dunk to stick the ball into the bottom corner.

Watch the goal here…

Or here... (click play on the black video window).

The decision to allow Dunk to take the set-piece before the wall had been properly assembled infuriated Liverpool fans on social media.

Here’s a small selection of the many angry posts on Twitter…

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Blimey. They’ve not exactly held back, have they?

Imagine how they’d have reacted if Brighton had equalised at the death.

Some of them also realised that Atkinson is the VAR for next week's Merseyside derby...

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Liverpool, though, just about held on to their one-goal advantage, wrapping up another precious three points in the process.

And their fans will be praying that Atkinson doesn’t referee any more of their matches between now and the end of the season.

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