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Gerrard faces V-sign probe

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could face an FA investigation after he appeared to flash a V-sign at referee Andre Marriner during his side's 1-0 defeat at Wigan last night.

The England midfielder was booked in the 81st minute of the Barclays Premier League clash at the DW Stadium following a robust challenge from behind on James McCarthy, and replays of the incident suggested that Gerrard had gestured towards Marriner as well as mouthing an obscenity at the official.

Marriner did not notice the gesture but the FA may decide that Gerrard, who captained England in their 3-1 friendly victory over Egypt last week, has a case to answer.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, speaking after the game, insisted he had not seen the incident.

"I don't know, I was too far away," he said.

Benitez will come under more pressure after this defeat, which puts Liverpool in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League slot.

Before the game, Wigan's Irish international McCarthy said that a newly-laid playing surface at the DW Stadium would help Athletic and allow them play a more passing game, and that's how it panned out.

The home side deserved their win, with McCarthy very impressive in his midfield battle with Gerrard, the frustrations of the England man shown with his reaction to a challenge from McCarthy.

"There were too many things that were wrong," a deflated Benitez said, as he saw the prospect of Champions League football for next season slip away from the Anfield club.

"We have to be really disappointed and it is difficult to explain. Wigan had more desire than us, especially in the first half. It was a question of attitude in the first half. We didn't do well and gave the ball away far too much."