Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has denied intentionally stamping on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea after being landed with a Football Association charge.
It is understood Skrtel will argue the incident, which occurred towards the end of the Reds’ 2-1 defeat at home to United on Sunday, was accidental.
Skrtel, who had been given until 6pm on Tuesday to respond to a violent conduct charge, landed on the United stopper’s right shin while chasing a through ball in the dying seconds of the encounter.
De Gea was incensed at the coming-together and the pair exchanged words shortly before the final whistle.
But the incident was missed by referee Martin Atkinson, meaning the FA could take retrospective action against the centre-half.
A three-man panel of former elite officials were asked by the governing body to review the footage independently of each other and there was unanimous agreement the offence warranted a red card.
Skrtel, currently away on international duty with Slovakia, will receive a three-match ban if he fails in his challenge, which covers league games at Arsenal and home to Newcastle either side of the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn.
Coincidentally, Skrtel could argue a precedent was set back in January when Chelsea striker Diego Costa was charged for a stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can but escaped punishment for one on Skrtel himself.
The Spain international stood on the defender as he slid in to make a tackle in a similar incident to Skrtel’s coming-together with De Gea.
The incident was looked at retrospectively using television evidence after both the Skrtel flashpoint and the stamp on Can were missed by referee Michael Oliver.
”Following a review of an incident during the game involving Costa and Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel, The FA will not be taking any further action,” a statement from the FA said at the time.
However, Skrtel’s hopes of succeeding appear slim. Costa appealed his charge for the offence against Can – with Blues boss Jose Mourinho insisting both incidents were ”absolutely accidental” – but was found guilty and banned for three matches.
It led to Mourinho claiming there was a “clear campaign” against Chelsea.