The FA are to investigate just what was said between Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Everton’s Mason Holgate in Friday night’s Merseyside derby.
The pair were involved in a heated exchange towards the end of the first half at Anfield, when Firmino responded to a robust challenge from Holgate by rushing to confront him. Strong words were exchanged and although referee Bobby Madley intervened before the altercation could become physical, the Brazilian forward clearly said something that enraged the young defender.
Holgate complained to Madley about what had been said to him, with the referee in turn discussing the matter with fourth official Jon Moss. The entire incident, according to reports on Friday night, will be documented by Madely in his official match report and, depending on what the report says, Firmino could be asked by the FA to explain his actions – especially if they were racially abusive.
Liverpool, for their part, released a statement to say that they will fully co-operate with any FA investigation:
“The club and player will fully co-operate with the relevant authorities to ensure the facts are established in a thorough manner if deemed necessary or requested.
“While that process is ongoing we will not be making any further comment.”
Neither manager would be drawn on the incident in either their post-match interviews or press conferences, instead focusing on the match result and the respective performances in the immedaite aftermath.
Liverpool’s £75m club-record signing made himself an instant hit with Reds fans after scoring what turned out to be the winner in the 85th minute, with Jurgen Klopp’s side booking their place in the fourth round with a 2-1 victory.