After being banned for three matches for allegedly stamping on Manchester United ‘keeper David de Gea during the closing moments of last weekends match, Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has maintained his innocence in an official statement that was posted on his website earlier today.
“It feels strange because we appealed against those charges and still I was hit by a three-match ban,” explained the Reds defender who has been steadfast in maintaining that any contact was accidental. “I didn’t want to stamp on him. It was an accident and I didn’t do it on purpose. I don’t feel guilty. It was a long ball and he went towards me and I wanted to jump over him. Simple as that.”
The 30-year old denied the Football Association charge of violent conduct, brought forward retroactively as neither the referee nor the other officials spotted it during the match, but the charge was found to be proven by a three person independent panel yesterday. Skrtel, almost certainly in response, posted a picture of three clowns on his Instagram account.
The veteran defender will be in good company on the sidelines with captain Steven Gerrard set to miss the same three matches after picking up a straight red card for a stamp on United midfielder Ander Herrera a mere 38-seconds after coming on the pitch. Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge could also be ruled out the Premier League meetings with Arsenal and Newcastle United as well as the FA Cup replay with Blackburn Rovers after the pair picked up groin and hip injuries respectively in the same match. Raheem Sterling, who also injured his toe, could return to Liverpool early from international duty though after England boss Roy Hodgson hinted he may consider resting the 20-year old Tuesday’s friendly with Italy.