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Controversy aplenty as Liverpool reach FA Cup fourth round

FLASHPOINT: Tempers flare at Anfield during the FA Cup third round tie between Liverpool and Everton

THE WORLD’S most expensive defender, Virgil Van Dijk, scored the winner against arch rivals Everton on his debut to send Liverpool into the fourth round of the FA cup.

The game had plenty of controversies, including the opening goal in the 34th minute after a contentious penalty decision, which saw Everton defender Mason Holgate pull down Adam Lallana inside the penalty with minimal contact; James Milner kept calm to make it 1-0, scoring his first goal of the season.

The controversy continued 40 minutes in as Holgate deliberately and dangerously pushed Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino into the advertising boards, resulting in Firmino racing towards the Everton player and allegedly calling Holgate a racist term along with other obscenities, which in turn ensued some upset on the pitch between both teams, followed by Holgate making an official complaint to the referee. Astonishingly no cards were shown.

On 67 minutes, Everton scored a brilliant equaliser on the counter attack, with Gylfi Sigurdsson shooting into the bottom right hand corner after great build-up play from Yannick Bolasie who played a great ball to Ademola Lookman into the Liverpool half, who slotted a pass to Phil Jagielka inside the Liverpool area, who unselfishly passed to his Icelandic midfielder Sigurðsson rather than shoot himself. The goal scorer finished the move with a well taken shot past Liverpool keeper Loris Karius.

Everton have never lost a game in the FA Cup at Anfield and looked like they were going to keep their record intact in the 230th Merseyside derby until £75 million pound Van Dijk headed home a thunderous header late into the second half, to put the Red half of Merseyside through to the next round.

The goal came from a Liverpool corner which saw an uncharacteristic mistake by solid goal keeper Jordan Pickford, who misjudged Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner which allowed only for the 6’ 4” Van Dijk head home his dream start for his new club.

In the press conference afterwards, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp commented about the Firmino and Holgate incident: “I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know enough information to comment.”

Everton boss Sam Allardyce confirmed in the same press conference that a complaint had been filed, however he was not willing to comment any further until it had been investigated fully.

Former Liverpool player and now football pundit Stan Collymore said: “If it does transpire that Firmino did say a racist term, then they should throw the book at him. Let’s see how the investigation turns out.”

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