Lee Mason withdraws as fourth official for Sheffield United vs Liverpool

Lee Mason has withdrawn from his duties for Liverpool's clash against Sheffield United due to a muscle injury he picked up at the end of refereeing West Brom's highly controversial win against Brighton.

Under-fire Mason was due to be the fourth official for the clash at Bramall Lane, but has now been replaced by John Brooks.

Mason has been heavily criticised for how he dealt with a disallowed Brighton goal in their 1-0 defeat to the Baggies on Saturday.

The Seagulls had won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 28th minute, and their defender Lewis Dunk asked Mason if he could take it quickly.

Mason appeared to indicate this was OK by blowing his whistle, but just before Dunk's effort hit the back of the net he changed his mind by whistling once more.

After appearing to go back on his decision yet again and awarding the goal, a VAR check eventually definitively ruled out the goal amid farcical scenes at the Hawthorns.

After the match Dunk slammed Mason's performance, and said: "It's embarrassing. It's a horrendous decision. I said to the ref 'can I take it?', he blew his whistle and I took it.

"Just because you've got so much pressure from the bench and the players, you cannot disallow the goal. VAR don't know what he said.

"It's a horrendous decision. Why doesn't he come and speak to the press like me? Why doesn't he come and make his point? But it will never happen, he'll go and hide behind his bubble."

This is not the first time Mason has courted controversy this season,

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo labelled him "not good enough" in December.

And he was also widely criticised for his role as the VAR in Tomas Soucek’s recent sending off at Fulham – a decision subsequently overturned following West Ham's appeal.

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