Chelsea striker Diego Costa is waiting to discover if he will be retrospectively punished by the Football Association for an alleged kick on Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel.
Costa, 27, appeared to dig his boot into Skrtel’s chest as both fell to the ground in the middle of the field during Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Referee Mark Clattenburg took no action over the specific incident at the time, but several former referees have said that they would have dismissed the Spain international had they seen it.
However, if Clattenburg did see Costa move his leg towards Skrtel but deemed it accidental, then he could escape action.
Costa and Skrtel have had several heated battles — dating back to when Slovakia beat Spain in a Euro 2016 qualifier in October 2014 and running into the clubs’ meetings in the Premier League and the Capital One Cup last season.
Costa has faced trial by television once already this season, banned for three games after a clash with Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny in September.
As he has already been suspended this season, any punishment for the Skrtel incident would carry a four-game ban and see the striker miss games against Stoke, Norwich, Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth. He would get a three-game ban for the kick, plus an additional game as it is his second offence.
Former ref Howard Webb told BT Sport: “They [The FA] will have a look I think. I think it is a clear red card. He commits a foul on Martin Skrtel, then there is a little kick.
“The second action is a clear act of violent conduct. Mark Clattenburg is pretty close and is in a good position and it’s difficult to say that he hasn’t seen this.
“Normally the FA won’t take action when the ref is looking at it. But just because he is looking in that direction it doesn’t mean he is focussed on that act of violence, and he can’t have been because he didn’t see the kick and didn’t give a red card.
“I doubt that the FA will take action because Mark is looking in that direction and it is not off the ball. But it is a clear red card and Diego Costa is a lucky boy on that occasion.”
The loss of Costa would be another blow to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as his Premier League champions languish above the relegation zone.
When asked about the incident after the game, Mourinho said: “I have nothing to say. I’m so sorry — I have nothing to say.”
And when he was told about Webb’s comments, he simply replied: “”Howard Webb says, Howard Webb says.”