Soccer-Liverpool will work with FA on the Holgate-Firminino incident

LIVERPOOL, England, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Liverpool said it would cooperate fully with any Football Association investigation into the clash between its striker Roberto Firmino and Everton’s Mason Holgate in Friday’s FA Cup showdown.

Holgate pushed Brazilian Firmino into the advertising boards in the 40th minute of the third round and the Liverpool striker responded by verbally abusing the young Everton defender.

“The club and the player will cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to ensure that the facts are thoroughly clarified if deemed necessary or requested. We will have no further comment while this process is ongoing,” Liverpool said.

Holgate, who is of mixed race, vigorously complained to referee Bobby Madley about Firmino’s comments and there was later a conversation between the referee and the fourth official on the touchline.

Asked by a reporter whether Holgate had accused Firmino of using a racist term, Everton manager Sam Allardyce said: “I won’t tell you anything until all systems are used to find out what happened and what didn’t. I’m here to talk.” It’s about football, not about controversial incidents that need to be clarified by the authorities.

Allardyce struck a similar tone when asked if he had discussed the matter with Holgate.

“Even if I had done it or not, I wouldn’t tell anyone in the press conference. This applies to other areas of the football club. I told the director of football (Steve Walsh) to sort it out.”

The incident will almost certainly be mentioned in the match report that the referee submits to the Football Association, which will then decide on any disciplinary action.

Liverpool won the game 2-1. (Reporting by Simon Evans, Editing by Pritha Sarkar)