Scant relief for faltering Reds as FA take no action over Gerrard 'V-sign'
THE recriminations over Liverpool's shattering defeat at Wigan continued yesterday but they will not include an FA charge against Steven Gerrard, for allegedly flicking a V-sign at referee Andre Marriner.
Liverpool reacted quickly to deny the claim, which followed Gerrard's booking in the 82nd minute -- after which he also mouthed an obscenity -- for a heavy challenge on Wigan's young Ireland star James McCarthy during the 1-0 loss.
The FA, it's understood, accept Liverpool's version of events that Gerrard was not gesturing at Marriner. Indeed the midfielder was making the point that he had been brought down twice in bad tackles and there had been no sanction, and was annoyed at being cautioned. He was not specifically targeting the official.
Marriner saw the reaction of Gerrard and did not deem it worthy of further punishment, and the FA have not asked the referee to reconsider the incident after receiving his match report and speaking to him. They regard the matter as closed.
While that will be a relief to Liverpool, the defeat has left them floundering in sixth position and in real danger of failing to qualify for next season's Champions League. That would hit the club's finances and leave the future of key players such as Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano in severe doubt.
Benitez did not conceal his frustration after the abject performance during which Liverpool received five yellow cards for the second time in three matches and may be asked to explain their behaviour by the FA's disciplinary committee.
With their season unravelling, Liverpool travel to Lille later today for tomorrow's first-leg of their Europa Cup last-16 match. The competition represents their final chance to win something this season, although they may well be without Yossi Benayoun after he missed training with an ankle injury.
Daniel Agger, on the bench against Wigan, travels while the only positive news from that game was Glen Johnson's comeback after more than two months out with a knee ligament injury. (© Daily Telegraph, London)