IT doesn’t take much for the Twittersphere to go into meltdown, although a high-profile Tory MP trying to jib paying for first class rail travel does a particularly good job.
But the breaking news on Monday that Andre Marriner (above) would referee the Merseyside derby was enough to prompt an outpouring of conspiracy theories.
Responses such as “I smell a rat” from Liverpool supporters and “Are Liverpool hand-picking the referees?” from their Everton brethren surmised the paranoia that swept over Stanley Park.
The bare stats, though, suggest otherwise.
Everton have lost six of the 24 games in which Marriner has been referee, comparable to the four in 18 games Liverpool have lost.
Marriner has sent off one player from each side: Lee Carsley in 2004 and Javier Mascherano in 2009.
Hardly earth-shattering stuff.
So anyone blaming the referee will have to wait.
Until after the match, at any rate.