Liverpool FC defender Martin Skrtel has been charged by the FA for his alleged stamp on David De Gea.
In the final seconds, with his side trailing 2-1 and desperately chasing an equaliser, Slovakia international Skrtel appeared to crash his studs down on the Spaniard’s calf after he had gathered an attempted through ball.
De Gea reacted angrily to the challenge and squared up to Skrtel, before the pair were separated.
Skrtel avoided any punishment at the time, with Martin Atkinson blowing for full time seconds later.Atkinson missed the incident – but it has been reveiwed by three former referees – who all decided independently of each other that had the official seen it at the time – he would have sent the player off.
The FA confirmed on Monday that they were looking into the incident and have now charged Skrtel with violent conduct.
An a FA statement on the matter confirmed, “Martin Skrtel has been charged by The FA for violent conduct following an on-field incident which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
“The charge is in relation to an incident involving the Liverpool defender and Manchester United’s David de Gea which occurred in the 95th minute of Sunday’s game.”
Skrtel has been found guilty by the FA and has until 6pm on 24th March to respond to the charge.The Slovakian faces a three match ban.This is a huge blow for Liverpool,who are now five points behind United in the race for the final Champions League spot following Sunday’s defeat.
They will be without their talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard for three matches after the captain was red carded following a stamp on United midfielder Ander Herrera.
After the defeat to United, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insisted there was no intent from Skrtel as he made the challenge.
Rodgers said: “I have seen the Martin Skrtel incident. The ball was played through but it probably looks worse in slow motion.
“It looks like he is trying to get a nick on the ball, to get a toe on the ball but the ball went into the goalkeepers hand.
“Martin is not that type of player, he was just a fraction out.”
However, Skrtel’s challenge drew criticism from some including Bolton Wanderers manager Neil Lennon.