Liverpool v Wigan Athletic (02/01/2008) - Meet the Referee
Monday, 31st December 2007
Steve Bennett of Orpington in Kent makes a quick return to Anfield to referee our first match of 2008 as Wigan Athletic are the visitors.

Steve was in the middle of our 4-0 beating of Bolton Wanderers at the start of last month. This should have been his fourth Liverpool game of the season after previously been appointed to our games at Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic only to be replaced by Mike Riley and Mark Clattenburg.
It will be his third Wigan match of the season, in the previous two games they have failed to score in defeats against Newcastle United at St James Park in September and a home clash against Chelsea in November.

The 46-year old FIFA official took up the whistle in 1984 and has been refereeing in The Premiership since 1999. But before that he became a Football League linesman in 1992, a Premiership linesman a season later. In 1995 he was on the FIFA list of linesman and became a Football League referee. He was promoted to the FIFA list of referees in 2001, and he was given the dubious distinction of being the referee in charge of a game between the two lowest ranking countries when Bhutan met Montserrat in June 2003.

Bennett is one of the games highly thought of referees, but is not a favourite of the fans with his strict attitude. He has given his first domestic final two seasons ago at Chelsea gained their first trophy under Jose Mourinho beating us 3-2 after extra time in the Carling Cup. He then went on to be the fourth official to Graham Poll in the UEFA Cup Final. Last season he was awarded his first FA Cup Final and the first one at the new Wembley as Chelsea defeated Manchester United.

Although an Elite Referee within UEFA he has yet to referee a game in Europe this season, although he was fourth official to Mark Clattenburg in the recent EURO2008 qualifier between Denmark and Liechtenstein.

One thing you must expect though is a card of one colour being shown by Bennett, his last Premiership match without a caution or dismissal was way back in November 2004 - 90 games ago. He has also gone five successive seasons reaching over 100 cautions in each season and is well on target to make it six seasons in a row.

His assistants are Mike Cairns and John Flynn with Kevin Friend as the fourth official.

A few memorable matches involving Liverpool and Steve Bennett.

15th October 2000 - Emile Heskey scores a hat-trick as we beat Derby County 4-0 at Pride Park.

24th April 2001 - Late goals from Sami Hyypia and Gary McAllister keep us on track for Champions League qualification with a 2-0 win at Coventry City.

25th November 2001 - Dietmar Hamann sent off in the first half during a 1-0 home win against Sunderland. Robbie Fowler appeared for the last time in a Liverpool shirt.

17th August 2003 - Orders a re-take of a penalty as Cudicini moves before Owen hits the ball wide. Owen scored the retaken penalty but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink nets a late winner for Chelsea.

16th October 2004 - Xabi Alonso and Igor Biscan scored their first Premiership goals for Liverpool during a 4-2 victory at Fulham.

15th January 2005 - Mauricio Pellegrino and Fernando Morientes make their Liverpool debuts in a 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United.

27th February 2005 - Liverpool lose 3-2 after extra time in the Carling Cup Final to Chelsea.

2nd April 2005 - John Welsh was given his first Premiership start and Igor Biscan scored a dramatic late winner against Bolton Wanderers.

5th November 2005 - Steven Gerrard celebrates his 300th Liverpool appearance with a goal in a 2-0 win at Aston Villa.

12th March 2006 - Xabi Alonso receives his only red card so far in his Liverpool career and Steven Gerrard gifts Thierry Henry a late winner in a 2-1 defeat.

28th October 2006 - Alonso plays his 100th Liverpool game, Finnan his 150th and Fowler his 350th in a 3-1win over Aston Villa at Anfield.

6th January 2007 - Arsenal come away from Anfield 3-1 winners in the FA Cup 3rd round.

24th February 2007 - Javier Mascherano makes his Liverpool debut in a 4-0 win over Sheffield United.

31st March 2007 - Peter Crouch scores his first hat-trick in a Liverpool shirt as Riise makes his 200th Premiership appearence. Arbeloa makes his Premiership debut all in a 4-1 home win over Arsenal.

2nd December 2007 - Jack Hobbs makes his Premiership debut as a replacement for Carragher in a 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Anfield.

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