Martin Skrtel loses appeal over David de Gea stamp — serves three match ban

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Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has failed in his bid to overturn a three-match suspension for standing on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 22, 2015: Liverpool's Martin Skrtel's right foot lands on the leg of Manchester United's goalkeeper David de Gea during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Slovakia international appealed to an independent panel sitting in judgement on the matter on the basis his action was accidental and not intentional.

However, Press Association Sport understands the panel rejected the 30-year-old centre-back's submission and ruled the charge of violent conduct proven.

Skrtel will serve an immediate suspension, meaning he misses league games at Arsenal and home to Newcastle either side of the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn.

The defender was charged on the basis of video evidence after referee Martin Atkinson missed the incident in the last seconds of Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Anfield.

Skrtel chased a through-ball as 10-man Liverpool searched for a late equaliser, but De Gea slid in to get there first and the defender continued his run and stood on the goalkeeper's right shin.

A three-man panel of former elite officials reviewed the footage independently of each other and unanimously agreed the offence warranted a red card and, despite Skrtel's protestations, a subsequent ban will now be imposed.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 27, 2015: Liverpool's Martin Skrtel looks dejected after losing 1-0 to Chelsea during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In a statement the Football Association confirmed the punishment, saying: "Liverpool's Martin Skrtel will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after a charge of violent conduct against him was found proven.

"The defender had denied the charge which related to an on-field incident involving Manchester United's David de Gea in the 95th minute of Sunday's game which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

"However, an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today found the charge proven."

Earlier on Wednesday, Skrtel had posted a photo on his Instagram page of a group of clowns although the only accompanying caption was “…”.

The FA confirmed the punishment at 1pm but Skrtel had been informed prior to that and two hours previously he took to Instagram to post the picture.

A photo posted by Martin Skrtel official (@martin37skrtel) on

His suspension means manager Brendan Rodgers will have to make another change to his first-choice defence which has been remarkably successful since the turn of the year.

Dejan Lovren would be his preferred option, as he filled in for the injured Mamadou Sakho recently, but a doubt hangs over the Croatia international for the Arsenal match at least.

The 25-year-old was not in the squad to face United last weekend and he was not fit enough to join up with his national side for Euro Saturday’s 2016 qualifier against Norway on Saturday because of the recurrence of an abdominal injury.

Liverpool’s only other centre-back is Kolo Toure, who has travelled to the Ivory Coast to join up with his national team despite retiring from international football as the squad celebrate their African Nations Cup triumph earlier this year with friendlies against Angola and Equatorial Guinea in front of home fans.

The other option Rodgers could go for, if he persists with a back three, is to move Emre Can to the centre and bring in Glen Johnson on the right. Although Can is a full-back he has played a couple of times already in a three-man back line and remains an alternative.

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