Liverpool’s clash with Everton at Anfield kicked off the FA Cup weekend perfectly.
The Merseyside derby is always a special match but on a Friday night, under lights and in the FA Cup, there was an extra edge.
A Merseyside derby isn’t a Merseyside derby without a few crunching tackles and – mainly thanks to Wayne Rooney – we got that in the first-half.
But it was another clash in the opening 45 minutes that got everyone talking.
After Mason Holgate dangerously pushed Roberto Firmino into the crowd, the Brazilian ran towards the Everton defender shouting furiously. Firmino had to be held back by referee Bobby Madley as Holgate appeared severely offended by what had come out of the Liverpool player’s mouth.
Exactly what was said is unknown as the FA continue their investigation but Madley included in his match report that he didn’t witness Firmino racially abusing his opponent.
THE FA INVESTIGATE HOLGATE’S TWEETS
However, the FA have since opened another investigation with Holgate at the centre of attention.
According to The Times, the 21-year-old is “facing the threat of a misconduct charge and a suspension” after homophobic tweets emerged in the aftermath of Everton’s tie with Liverpool.
The tweets contained words such as “f*g,” “f****t,” and “b******y” and were posted in 2012 and 2013. Holgate’s account has since been deleted but The Times claims FA sources told them it was “probable” that he would be charged.
The Times write: “Holgate made three separate offensive postings, on his verified Twitter account @MasonHolgateee, between February 2012 and July 2013, but they resurfaced the day after the Merseyside derby. There is unease at the FA at the manner in which they re-emerged, which came about when users of Liverpool fan sites began sharing screengrabs of the tweets in an apparent reprisal for Holgate’s allegation against Firmino. But the governing body does not regard that as a defence of the player’s conduct or mitigation. The 21-year-old has since deleted his Twitter account.
“Holgate’s age at the time is likely to be used in his defence, as he was 15 when the first two tweets were sent and was still three months short of his 17th birthday when the final one was posted. The England Under-21 player had been at Barnsley’s academy for eight years by that point, however, and would have received education regarding use of social media and diversity issues.”
In 2016, Watford striker Andre Gray was banned for four matches for sending a series of homophobic tweets four years previously.