KENNY DALGLISH says he has no concerns about the appointment of Martin Atkinson for today’s derby at Goodison.
The Yorkshire referee has sent off 14 players since the start of last season – more than any other top flight official.
So far this term Atkinson has refereed eight games in all competitions – issuing 32 yellows and five reds – and there are fears that handing him such a highly-charged fixture could lead to another card-fest.
“I don’t know Martin Atkinson’s stats for red cards,” Dalglish said. “He refereed our game down at Arsenal and sent (Emmanuel) Frimpong off but I don’t think anyone could have any complaints about that.
“If you don’t behave yourself then you’re going to be sent off, everyone knows that.
“We’ve just got to compete as best as we possibly can without any intention of getting any red cards.
“I don’t know the stats but there didn’t used to be many sendings off. I think they sent the ball off a few times! I just think there’s more punishment now if you offend than what there used to be.
“But there was nobody sent off in the last derby in January. The fans want to see 11 against 11 on the pitch.”
Dalglish admits the derby represents the perfect opportunity for his new signings to launch their Anfield careers.
“I don’t think one game is going to dictate the future but it helps in that you get the bragging rights if you’ve been successful,” he said.
“It would be nice if a new guy scored a hat-trick. It certainly wouldn’t do them any harm.
“But you can’t judge someone on one or two games in the same way that if you make a mistake you can’t hang them.
“Any game can act as a launch pad but there’s nothing wrong with the confidence of anybody.”