Chelsea star striker Diego Costa could face four-game suspension after Martin Skrtel clash.
Diego Costa pushed his studs into Martin Skrtel’s ribs after fouling the defender in Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat by Liverpool.
The 27-year-old Spanish striker’s clash with the Slovakian was highly anticipated with tempers flaring between the physical in several of their previous meetings.
And Costa seemed determined to infuriate Skrtel again when he seemed to deliberately drive his studs into the defender’s mid-drift as the two fell to the ground following a foul by the Chelsea striker.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa is waiting to discover if he will be retrospectively punished by the Football Association for an alleged kick on Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel.
However, Skrtel’s lack of reaction to the incident arguably saved his opponent from hot water as the Slovakian merely winced before he helped Costa to his feet.
Sportsmail columnist and former referee Graham Poll said it would be difficult for a referee to send Costa off seeing the incident in real time.
“When Diego Costa fouled Martin Skrtel it did appear that he made a secondary action with his right leg and kicked the Liverpool man in a violent manner,” Poll said.
“The incident occurred close to Clattenburg who took no action. Perhaps he missed it completely or didn’t think it violent.”
“Perhaps he thought it fair ‘retaliation’ after Skrtel had caught Costa with a leading forearm in the first half.”
“For me at full speed I doubt whether any referee would have dismissed the Chelsea man; replays might well have led to a red card, but thankfully we still trust our referees to get the majority of decisions right.”
Referee Mark Clattenburg took no action over the specific incident at the time, but several former referees have said that they would have dismissed the Spain international had they seen it.
However, if Clattenburg did see Costa move his leg towards Skrtel but deemed it accidental, then he could escape action.
Video of Diego Costa and Martin Skrtel clash:
Costa and Skrtel have had several heated battles – dating back to when Slovakia beat Spain in a Euro 2016 qualifier in October 2014 and running into the clubs’ meetings in the Premier League and the Capital One Cup last season.
Costa has faced trial by television once already this season, banned for three games after a clash with Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny in September.
As he has already been suspended this season, any punishment for the Skrtel incident would carry a four-game ban and see the striker miss games against Stoke, Norwich, Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth. He would get a three-game ban for the stamp, plus an additional game as it is his second offence.
Former Referee Howard Webb told BT Sport: “They (The FA) will have a look I think. I think it is a clear red card. He commits a foul on Martin Skrtel, then there is a little kick.
“The second action is a clear act of violent conduct. Mark Clattenburg is pretty close and is in a good position and it’s difficult to say that he hasn’t seen this.
“Normally the FA won’t take action when the ref is looking at it. But just because he is looking in that direction it doesn’t mean he is focussed on that act of violence, and he can’t have been because he didn’t see the kick and didn’t give a red card.
“I doubt that the FA will take action because Mark is looking in that direction and it is not off the ball. But it is a clear red card and Diego Costa is a lucky boy on that occasion.”
The loss of Costa would be another blow to Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as his Premier League champions languish above the relegation zone.