Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has appeared to issue a damning assessment of the Football Association's decision to ban him for three games by posting a picture of clowns on his Instagram account.
Skrtel was suspended after being adjudged guilty of a stamp on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. He and Liverpool have been informed the charge against him was considered 'proved'.
A meeting of the FA's independent panel this morning confirmed the original decision to penalise the 30-year-old, who will now miss forthcoming Premier League games against Arsenal and Newcastle, in addition to an FA Cup quarter-final replay with Blackburn Rovers.
Skrtel was not present at this morning’s disciplinary meeting but a written defence presented on his behalf insisted his clash with De Gea was accidental. He was adamant there was no deliberate attempt to hurt his rival during the incident in the fifth minute of injury time during Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to United.
The defender has not said anything in response to the verdict, but his posting on social media appears to tell its own story and could yet cause him further trouble with the FA.
Skrtel had been charged under breach of rule E3, and although contesting the ban could have resulted in a longer suspension that now happens rarely.
Referee Martin Atkinson said his view of the incident was obstructed, thus enabling video footage to be reviewed.
Liverpool will now be without at least two key players for their next three games, with Steven Gerrard also absent because of his sending off for a stamp on Ander Herrera.
Rodgers will hope Lucas Leiva makes a welcome return to assist in midfield - he has missed the last month with a thigh problem but is training again - while Kolo Toure and Dejan Lovren are options to replace Skrtel.