London (AFP) – The Football Association is to investigate an ugly spat between Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Everton’s Mason Holgate during Friday’s feisty FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield.
Referee Bobby Madley made reference to an allegation that had been reported to him, understood to be by the Everton defender on the pitch and Everton officials after the match, and the governing body will now take a look at the flashpoint.
“The FA can confirm that referee Bobby Madley was made aware of an allegation during the Liverpool versus Everton game at Anfield last night and has subsequently reported this to The FA, which will now begin making enquiries into the matter,” the FA said in a statement.
Firmino and Holgate were involved in an angry exchange after the Toffees defender pushed the Brazilian into the front row of the stand shortly before half-time of Liverpool’s 2-1 win and words were exchanged which left the 21-year-old defender incensed.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce was asked in his post-match press conference whether the incident was sparked by an alleged racist comment, but said: “I’m telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out exactly what happened and what didn’t happen.
“I’m here to talk about football, not about controversial incidents. I only want to talk about football.
“Anything else outside of that that happens has to be dealt with by the authorities.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp refused to be drawn on the issue in his press conference.
“I only heard about something but I can’t say anything about it because so far I couldn’t speak to anybody and I think, from now on, first of all the club will answer,” Klopp said.
Immediately after the match Liverpool pledged to fully cooperate with any investigation.
Soon after the final whistle Holgate deleted his Twitter account.