Liverpool to co-operate over incident in Merseyside derby
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool says the club will co-operate with soccer authorities following a confrontation between striker Roberto Firmino and Everton opponent Mason Holgate during the Merseyside derby match on Friday.
Holgate angrily remonstrated with the referee, Bobby Madley, after being verbally abused by Firmino toward the end of the first half of the third-round match in the FA Cup at Anfield.
“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,” Liverpool said. “While that process is ongoing, we will not be making any further comment.”
Asked whether Holgate accused Firmino of using a racist term, Everton manager Sam Allardyce said: “I’m telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out what exactly happened and what didn’t happen.”
“Whatever happens (outside football),” Allardyce added, “has to be dealt with the authorities.”
Allardyce didn’t want to discuss if he had spoken to Holgate about the incident.
“I’ve left it with the director of football (Steve Walsh) today,” he said. “I said to sort that out.”
The incident was sparked by Holgate shoving Firmino into — and over — the advertising boards surrounding the field in the 40th minute. The Brazil striker vaulted back onto the playing surface and sprinted toward Holgate, swearing in Portuguese. Referee Bobby Madley stepped between them to intervene.
Holgate then became aggrieved, and appeared to complain to Madley. Madley spoke to his the fourth official, before play continued.
The incident will be included in the match report, which will go to the Football Association. The FA could then seek observations from both teams.
Everton hasn’t commented on the issue beyond Allardyce’s remarks.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he thought Madley and the fourth official were discussing whether to take action against Holgate for the original push on Firmino.
Klopp then said: “I had information that something happened ... but I can’t say anything about it.”
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80