Ref Review 2012/13: Liverpool – you should blame the refs!

By Walter Broeckx

This article is part of the series of the Referee Review 2013. Other articles to this subject can be found on this site. Including reviews of games, reports on teams and reports on refs


In this part of the series we have a look at each team and see how the bias panned out for each team. This is based on the decisions themselves without putting any weight on each decision. A total table will be published at the end of this series and then you can compare each team with the other teams.

And it will be an interesting table I can assure you of that.

First we are providing a table for each team highlighting each type of decision. This gives the totals as for when the team in the article got a favourable decision and when they got it against them.

If the traditional mantra, “it all evens out at the end of the season” is true it should show in these statistics – and indeed for some clubs we have already reviewed, that is the case.

But as I said, in the table we just show the decisions as a decision and we didn’t put any weight on the decisions. That is something for later on. Now we just take each decision at the same value, which is of course not saying all because a wrong penalty call is a bit more important than a wrong throw in decision.

But now let us move to the next team in our survey:


We did 19 games of Liverpool and that is 50% of their decisions. So unless the complete contradiction happened in those 19 games we can think that this should be the pattern for the whole season.



In the second column we see the type of decision. And in the column “Favoured” we see how many decisions favoured this team when we reviewed them.  In the column “Penalised” we see how many times a wrong decision went against them.  The total swing is the difference between the favoured decisions and the penalised decisions.

A negative number in this column means that the total was against the team and a positive number means that the total decisions was in their favour.

In the last column we see the average swing per game, based on the games we reviewed. And this gives an indication on how many decisions went against a team or were in favour of a team. The lower the number the lower number of decisions that were wrong. And a positive number indicates that in each game they get some decisions in their favour and a negative indicates how many decisions the team has to overcome.

We had a total of 236 wrong decisions in the 19 games we did with Liverpool.  That is more than 12 wrong decisions per game. This is again rather high and certainly too high for my liking.  But we have seen worse things this season so after a while you get used to it.  But more importantly now is to see how the dividing was of those wrong decisions.

Of those 236 wrong decisions we had 96 in their favour and 140 going against them. The difference is 44 decisions going against Liverpool.  This results in a rather big bias swing per game against Liverpool.

When we look at the decisions we see that they got some benefit from the 2nd yellow and yellow card decisions. And then the more small decisions like advantage and corners.  And that is it for the advantage they got.

But if we look at the decisions going against them we see that the foul/free kick decisions were very much against them. And the same can be said about the goals and penalty decisions. In fact the penalty decisions are rather big against them. Maybe the reputation of a certain player played a part in this. But our reviewers found that the refs on the field were maybe laid too much by the reputation and not by the reality on the field.

So one could say that Liverpool had every right to feel hard done by the refs over the games we reviewed. And by extension over the whole season.

Editorial note: if you want to comment it is perhaps worth having a look at some of the background to this research in the articles below, if you have not come across Referee Decisions before.  We have had situations in which supporters of various teams have not done this, and made comments which, in retrospect they maybe wish they hadn’t.

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One Response to Ref Review 2012/13: Liverpool – you should blame the refs!

  1. Martin says:

    Bizarre really. You’ve highlighted and proved what Liverpool fans experienced throughout the season. Even more bizarre that Man U had a very big bias. Interesting to see if the pattern will repeat itself when Luis Suarez is back from his suspension.

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