Experienced whistle blower Phil Dowd has been appointed the man in the middle for this year’s FA Cup showpiece at Wembley between Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool and Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea.
Dowd was the centre of attention at Anfield earlier in the season in another crucial cup tie.
In the Carling Cup semi-final he awarded a hotly-contested penalty to the hosts after the ball ricocheted onto the arm of Manchester City’s Micah Richards. Liverpool converted the penalty and went on, not only to win the game, but the trophy itself.
Dalglish’s team are 11/10 to add a second trophy here.
The Stoke-born official has taken charge of the Reds on five occasions this season and they have only lost one of these ties, away at Old Trafford to Manchester United.
Chelsea on the other hand, who are 4/6 to claim a third FA Cup in four years, have won only one of their four games that Mr Dowd has presided over this term.
The Carling Cup meeting between these two earlier in the campaign ended with a 2-0 victory for the Merseyside team, as they went on to be crowned winners.
Unfortunately for the Pensioners, it was Dowd again who was the referee for this tie and they will be hoping to avoid another cup defeat with the 49-year-old in charge.
Punters expecting another low-scoring affair when the sides walk out at Wembley on May 5th can get just under 2/1 on their being under 2.5 goals.
Dowd has been officiating for 12 years and is the Premier League’s highest card waver this season, a title he also held last term.
He has brandished 97 yellows and three reds in just 25 league games this season so both sets of players will need to be on their best behaviour to dodge Dowd’s over-active card reflex.