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Mascherano facing FA charge over Beckford clash

Javier Mascherano could be facing a violent conduct charge from the Football Association after appearing to hit Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford on the back of the head with a swinging arm in Liverpool's 1-0 win in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.

• Match report: Leeds 0-1 Liverpool

Mascherano was pulled back by Beckford before a throw-in, but the Argentine was seen to spin and catch the Leeds man on the head with a forearm. Referee Alan Wiley took no action, despite appearing to have a clear view, but the FA could act.

If it is found Wiley did see the incident then no charges can be brought, but if the referee's report submitted to the governing body states he did not spot the blow, action can be taken on video evidence and Mascherano will face a charge of violent conduct and a likely three-game suspension.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez indicated he would defend any such charges. "I think it is just nothing," he said, explaining that Mascherano's indiscretion could not possibly be compared to the sort of bad tackles that frequently go unpunished.

Simon Grayson, the Leeds manager, said: "Mascherano's turned and put his arm up; it went a bit too high. I've looked at replays. I'm not saying it's malicious and I'm not saying it's not, you can't really tell. Some players have been sent off for that, some haven't, sometimes these things go your way, sometimes they don't."

Shortly after his altercation with Beckford, Mascherano helped create the winning goal for David N'Gog.

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