Friday 15 December 2017

Skrtel set for three-match ban after FA charge for challenge on United's goalkeeper De Gea

Skrtel making the challenge on De Gea
Skrtel making the challenge on De Gea

The English Football Association has charged Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel with violent conduct following his clash with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea during Sunday's Premier League match.

Skrtel appeared to step on the Spaniard in the 95th minute of the match at Anfield, which Liverpool lost 2-1.

The English FA said in a statement the incident was not seen by the officials, but was caught on video.

The Slovakian has until 6pm this evening to respond to the charge. If he were found guilty Skrtel would face a three-match ban, ruling him out of the Premier League matches against Arsenal and Newcastle and the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Blackburn.

The Reds will already have to cope without Steven Gerrard, who was sent off less than a minute after coming on as a half-time substitute for a stamp on Ander Herrera.

The defeat left Liverpool five points behind their opponents in the race for a top-four finish.

Meanwhile, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and manager Brendan Rodgers have called for the players to use the defeat against Manchester United as motivation for a renewed top-four push.

The 2-1 loss at Anfield was their first in the league since losing at Old Trafford in mid-December and left them five points adrift of their arch-rivals, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot. But just as the squad reacted to losing to United just before Christmas the expectation now is for them to bounce back and maintain the challenge.

"There's still a lot to play for and when we come back from international duty, we've got that big game against Arsenal (in third)," Mignolet said. "The game away to Manchester United at Old Trafford we used as a catalyst to put in a lot of good performances - so let's use this game as a catalyst again when we come back.

"With all the games still to play until the end of the season we can still do really well."

Rodgers has urged the squad to use the international break to put the defeat behind them and return ready for a difficult trip to the Emirates Stadium. "The message to the players was that last performance at Old Trafford was a great springboard for us," he said. "We went on and, up until this point (against United), we hadn't lost a league game.

"So now we must use this similarly; refocus, get over the disappointment."

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