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By ESPN Staff

Mascherano slapped with fine and increased ban

Liverpool will consider an appeal against the additional two-match ban handed to midfielder Javier Mascherano by the Football Association for improper conduct.

The 23-year-old was sent off during Liverpool's Premier League defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 23 and reacted badly to the red card.

Having been booked already for a foul, he was shown a second yellow card in the 44th minute after running 20 metres to referee Steve Bennett to question the booking of striker Fernando Torres.

The Argentina international had to be ushered off the pitch by Liverpool staff and team-mates as he attempted to remonstrate with Bennett.

Mascherano picked up an automatic one-match suspension for the red card but is now faced with a ban for a further two Premier League games as well as a £15,000 fine.

He admitted a charge of improper conduct after a personal hearing and has been punished further by the FA, with the additional suspension coming into effect immediately.

Mascherano - who missed the derby victory over Everton as a result of the dismissal - will now also miss this weekend's clash with Arsenal and the home game with Blackburn on April 13.

Mascherano subsequently apologised to his team-mates for his behaviour and sent a letter to Bennett, while manager Rafael Benitez sought talks with referees' boss Keith Hackett to find 'a solution' to the problems that resulted in his player being sent off.

Following the announcement Liverpool confirmed that they will consider their options before deciding whether to appeal the decision.

A club spokesman told www.liverpoolfc.tv: 'Although we received a fair hearing we must now decide whether to appeal on the basis of inconsistency of sentencing for Javier based on past precedents.'

It will come as a blow to Benitez - who had also disciplined Mascherano internally and fined him two weeks' wages - as he looks to secure the fourth Champions League place.

'Javier is a fantastic professional and he knows he made a big mistake - he apologised to his team-mates and the supporters and he has now apologised to the referee,' Benitez said last week.

'He accepts he lost control after the sending-off and has said sorry to the referee. I have also talked with him now and told him he would be fined by the club, and he has accepted that and wants the money donated to charity.

'This was the first red card of our season and we do not have problems of this kind.'