Liverpool’s card-happy referee set for busy Champions League night with Real Madrid

Martin Atkinson gave out six yellow cards and one red when Liverpool met Queens Park Rangers and is due to officiate at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

High-pressured occasions like the semi-finals of the Champions League require a calm head, but whether Martin Atkinson is the right referee to provide that in Juventus’ first-leg clash with Real Madrid in Italy remains to be seen.

The Premier League official has been selected to officiate the game off the back of a rather eventful showing in the English top-flight.

Picked to oversee Liverpool’s home encounter with QPR, Atkinson dished out six yellow cards on Saturday, with Nedum Onuoha also sent off for picking up another two yellows and one of those fouls resulting in a penalty for the Reds.

It was an eventful showing from Atkinson and the third successive game in which the 44-year-old match official has brandished five or more yellow cards.

Another red could well be on the cards in Italy if his recent record in Europe is anything to go by, too.

A grand total of five yellow cards and one red were shown in his last Champions League appearance – Bayern Munich’s 6-1 victory over Porto in the previous round.

Prior to that, Atkinson’s most notable appearance in this season’s incarnation of the competition saw the English official dish out seven yellow cards during an ill-tempered group stage clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Benfica.

More recently in the Europa League, meanwhile, a last-16 clash between Villarreal and Sevilla featured another five yellow cards and a red.

With the stakes likely to be high in Turin later, Gareth Bale and Co. could be in for an interesting evening.

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