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Jan 8, 2013

Webb to referee Man United-Liverpool

Howard Webb has been named as the referee for Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

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It will be the first time the Rotherham official has taken charge of one of the biggest domestic club fixtures in world football since the two contested an FA Cup tie in January 2011.

In that match - Kenny Dalglish's first game back in charge of Liverpool - United won 1-0 courtesy of an early penalty from Ryan Giggs and Reds captain Steven Gerrard was sent off in the 32nd minute.

That result prompted then Liverpool forward Ryan Babel to post a mocked-up picture of Webb wearing a United shirt on his Twitter account.

The post and the accompanying tweet - "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke." - saw the Dutchman fined £10,000 and warned about his future conduct.

Webb is regarded as one of the top officials in world football, and in 2010 became the first referee to take charge of the finals of the Champions League and the World Cup in the same year.

Former referee Graham Poll told the Daily Mail: "Howard Webb, as the No.1 referee as ranked by UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League, is a natural selection for the Manchester United-Liverpool match this weekend.

"He was selected for the World Cup final and the Champions League, so it is hard to argue with those credentials.

"In appointing Webb, referee chief Mike Riley is covered in that, even if the game goes badly, he can say: 'Well, I appointed the No.1 referee.'"

• Pick your Premier League fantasy squad for the second half of the season now and challenge your friends.

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