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06th Jan 2018

FA to investigate whether Roberto Firmino racially abused Mason Holgate during Merseyside derby

Allardyce and Klopp have responded to the allegation

Ben Kiely

The FA will investigate whether Everton defender Mason Holgate was racially abused by Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino during Friday night’s Merseyside derby.

Virgil van Dijk’s debut goal in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Everton was overshadowed by the incident in the first half.

Referee Bobby Madley will report the incident to the FA in his match report and an investigation will follow. Liverpool have released a statement saying they will fully cooperate with the investigation.

Firmino and Holgate were involved in an angry confrontation after the Everton defender pushed the Brazilian off the pitch and into the main stand five minutes before halftime. Words were then exchanged which left Holgate incensed. He could be seen on camera telling Madley he was a victim of a racial slur. Neither player was booked for the incident.

Madley then spoke with the fourth official, Jon Moss, to report the allegation and spoke to Holgate at the end of the game.

After the game, Toffees manager Sam Allardyce said that the matter would have to be assessed by the FA.

“I am telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out what happened or did not happen. I am here to talk about football and anything outside that needs to be dealt with by the authorities. That is for other areas of the football club. I have left that with the director of football.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp claimed he was unaware of the allegation against Firmino. He initially thought the confrontation was sparked by the shove from Holgate.

“I don’t really know anything about it. I misjudged it completely because I thought it was about a Holgate foul.  I thought they wanted to investigate the Holgate foul.”