Mascherano charged with improper conduct

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The Independent Online

Liverpool were tonight left to consider their response after midfielder Javier Mascherano was charged with improper conduct.





The Football Association issued the charge this afternoon in response to Mascherano's reaction to his dismissal from Sunday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat by Manchester United.



The Argentinian midfielder had to be dragged from the pitch by coaching staff and colleagues, after being shown a red card in the 45th minute by Steve Bennett.



The referee had awarded a second yellow following his protests against a caution issued to Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.



Reds boss Rafael Benitez admitted Mascherano made a mistake in refusing to leave the pitch but felt his sending-off was harsh.



The club has until 6pm tomorrow to respond, with the case scheduled to be heard by a regulatory commission on Friday April 4.



Mascherano can accept or deny the charge and also has the option of requesting a personal hearing.



The 23-year-old is currently serving a one-match suspension for the dismissal, ruling him out of Sunday's Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield.



But if the charge of improper conduct is upheld then he will also miss Barclays Premier League games against Arsenal on April 5 and Blackburn eight days later.



However, any ban would exclude the Champions League quarter-final first and second legs against Arsenal on April 2 and 9.



A statement released by the FA said: "Liverpool's Javier Mascherano has today been charged with improper conduct.



"The charge relates to his reaction towards referee Steve Bennett after being sent off against Manchester United on Sunday 23 March."



Benitez had reacted to Mascherano's red card by demanding showdown talks with referees' chief Keith Hackett.



The Spaniard told liverpoolfc.tv: "I would like to speak to Keith Hackett, because it is important that we find a solution.



"At Liverpool, we respect the game; we respect the rules and we respect the referee - and it is important to remember that Mascherano was the first Liverpool player to be sent off in the league this season."

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