David Coote DROPPED from referee role for first time this season after gaffe in Pickford's horror tackle on Van Dijk

PREMIER LEAGUE official David Coote has been dropped from referee and VAR duties this weekend after his blunder in the Merseyside derby.

Coote failed to check whether Jordan Pickford's season-ending tackle on Virgil van Dijk should have been a red card in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.

And he has now been given the boot for the first time this season.

Coote will be on fourth official duties instead where he will be on the touchline for Manchester City's visit to West Ham.

As well as ignoring Pickford's rash scissor tackle on Van Dijk – reportedly claiming it was nullified because Van Dijk was offside in the build up – Coote was also involved in controversy at the end of the match.

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He ruled out Jordan Henderson's late effort for offside which would have put Liverpool 3-2 up.

Sadio Mane was adjudged to have been offside in the build up to the goal but pictures shown to viewers at home seemed to show the forward onside by a whisker.

Liverpol were fuming with Coote's decision making and demanded urgent clarification from referee body the PGMOL after the game.

Members of the Reds' hierarchy are reported by the Mail as saying Coote was 'too distracted' by Van Dijk being offside before he was poleaxed by the England keeper.

And they are also said to feel the Premier League and the PGMOL are more concerned with briefing their own ever changing versions of events rather than engaging in dialogue with clubs.

But PGMOL chief Mike Riley is said to have spoken to Liverpool officials on Sunday claiming the challenge WAS reviewed but not deemed to be a foul.

Since the controversial match, Pickford and Everton striker Richarlison have both been subjected to 'death threats' which Merseyside police are investigating.

This weekend will be the first time this season Coote has not been the lead official at VAR HQ at Stockley Park or the main whistler on the pitch.

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