The Football Association have announced who the referees will be for the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures, and the man appointed to oversee Liverpool’s trip to St James’ Park spells bad news for the Magpies.
Andre Marriner will be the man with the whistle when we host the title-chasing Merseyside outfit on Saturday, which will be the Birmingham-born official’s fifth Newcastle match of the season.
In the previous four – against Crystal Palace, Brighton, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – however, the Magpies failed to score a single goal, and we were only able to take a single point thanks to the goalless draw at Selhurst Park.
What may work in the Toon’s favour, though, is that our form when Marriner has officiated has drifted of late in patterns of three – going without a point in our last three games, but having gone unbeaten in the three before that, after losing three on the bounce. If that were to continue at the weekend, we could be set for, at least, a point against the Anfield natives.
We are also unbeaten against Liverpool in our last four encounters when Marriner has been in the middle, although the last of those came in 2016 when we left Merseyside with a point thanks to a 2-2 draw.
Since that April 23, 2016 result, we have only won once with Marriner as the referee – the last of eleven wins from 41 games, ten of which ended as draws.
In his 41 Newcastle games, Marriner has also issued the Magpies 67 yellow cards and six straight reds, making us his third most frequent victims of warnings.
He would have to excessively break from his current form to continue that record this weekend, however, as the 48-year-old has been the 14th most frequent official to issue yellow cards in the Premier League this season.
Red cards are a different matter, though, as Marriner has brandished three straight dismissals in his 25 top-flight games, making him the third most likely referee to give a player his marching orders.
Lee Betts and Simon Long will join Marriner at the weekend, while Kevin Friend will be the fourth official.