While all the focus should have been on Virgil van Dijk’s dream debut after the Merseyside derby on Friday, an ugly clash between Roberto Firmino and Mason Holgate shared the headlines.
The Everton defender shoved the Brazilian into the Anfield crowd during the first-half, promoted a furious reaction. Firmino chased after Holgate and had to be restrained by referee Bobby Madley as he shouted at him.
Whatever came out of Firmino’s mouth appeared to offend Holgate, though.
The 21-year-old looked shocked at what Firmino said to him – although referee Madley didn’t flinch despite being in between the two players.
Football fans spent Friday night trying to work out exactly what was said with many coming to the conclusion that Firmino had said: “Es maluco, filho da puta?”, which translates as “Are you crazy, you son of a b***h?”
— Kevin (@KevinKT29) January 6, 2018
But Holgate clearly felt something more had been said given his reaction and the FA have begun an investigation into what was said.
“We will now begin making enquiries into the matter,” a spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have revealed they are co-operating to sort out the issue.
“While that process is ongoing, we will not be making any further comment,” a club spokesman said.
THE MIRROR HIRED AN EXPERT LIP-READER
While the FA conduct their investigation, the Mirror decided to do a bit of investigating for themselves.
They hired expert lip-reader Tim Reedy to analyse exactly what was said between Firmino and Holgate.
And here were his findings: “Firmino, in retaliation to the push, confronts Holgate, shouting some words at him, to which Holgate does not react.
“Holgate does not compute because Firmino is speaking in Portugese. My findings are that Firmino did not use racist language.
“Instead, he says the words, ‘Es maluco, filho da puta?’, which translates as ‘Are you crazy, you son of a b***h?’. Then Holgate, upon speaking to the referee, thinks that racist language was used and tells the referee, ‘He called me a n****r.’
I think it's very clear what Holgate is saying to the ref here. Firmino racially abused him. pic.twitter.com/PZonS3hXbH
— JB™ (@gunnerpunner) January 5, 2018
“It also appears the referee has no idea what Firmino said. When pushed away by a team-mate, Holgate reiterates that he was called a n*****.”
So, it seems Holgate may have misheard what Firmino said.
And that is the conclusion the Mirror have come to.
They write: “Our investigation has revealed that Holgate complained to referee Bobby Madley and team-mates that Firmino had called him the N-word.
“But, while the six clips of the incident we used showed that the Brazilian had uttered a curse in his native Portuguese, according to the lip reader, no evidence of racial abuse was found.”
We wait to hear what the FA discover during their investigation…