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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FA confirms investigation following Roberto Firmino, Mason Holgate spat

Virgil Van Dijk made an immediate impact on Merseyside, scoring a debut winner for Liverpool against rivals Everton in the FA Cup.
The world's most expensive defender Virgil van Dijk began repaying his fee with the winner against Everton in the FA Cup third round.

The Football Association has confirmed it is looking into an unspecified allegation made to referee Bobby Madley during Friday night's Merseyside derby.

Everton defender Mason Holgate, 21, appeared to react angrily to comments made by Liverpool's Roberto Firmino after he had shoved the Brazilian into the stands during the first half.

Sources told ESPN FC on Friday that Madley would submit a report to the FA's disciplinary committee on Saturday detailing the allegation made by Holgate.

And on Saturday lunchtime the FA said in a statement: "The FA can confirm that referee Bobby Madley was made aware of an allegation during the Liverpool versus Everton game at Anfield last night and has subsequently reported this to The FA, which will now begin making enquiries into the matter."

Everton manager Sam Allardyce and senior club officials refused to discuss the exact nature of Holgate's accusation against Firmino following the game. But a Liverpool spokesman confirmed that the Anfield club will fully cooperate with any FA investigation.

The spokesman said: "The Club and player will fully cooperate with the relevant authorities to ensure the facts established in a thorough manner if deemed necessary or requested.

"While that process is ongoing, we will not be making any further comment."

Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino clashed after the Everton defender pushed the Brazliian into the stands.

Sources told ESPN FC that Firmino did not make a statement after the game and that the player was not asked to do so.

Allardyce, meanwhile, would not disclose his understanding of the incident when asked by reporters after the game.

"I'm telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out what did happen," Allardyce said. "I'm here to talk about football, not controversial incidents.

"Whatever happens outside the game needs to be dealt with by the authorities.

"Even if I had or I hadn't, I wouldn't tell anyone in the press conference. That is for other areas of the football club. I have told the director of football to sort that out."

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he initially misunderstood the situation, but could not disclose any details.

"I only heard about something, but I can't say anything so far because I couldn't speak to anybody," Klopp said. "From now on, the club will answer. I don't really know anything about it.

"I misjudged the situation, obviously, completely. I thought it was about the Holgate foul. At the end there was no foul, no yellow card, nothing. I didn't get it. It was a throw in.

"I didn't understand the whole situation, but I got information that something obviously happened, but I can't say anything more about it."

Liverpool won the game 2-1. 

Mark Ogden and Liverpool correspondent Glenn Price contributed to this report.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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