Skrtel Suspended

Martin Skrtel

Martin Skrtel

LONDON. — Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel will serve a three-game suspension after losing his appeal against a charge for treading on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, the Football Association announced yesterday.

The Slovakia centre-back (30) was charged with violent conduct on the basis of video evidence after referee Martin Atkinson missed the incident, which occurred at the end of United’s 2-1 win at Anfield on Sunday.

Skrtel appealed against the charge, reportedly claiming that he had trodden on De Gea accidentally, but his explanation was rejected.

“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 FA said in a statement on its website.

“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.”

Skrtel was chasing a ball into the United box in stoppage time of the Premier League game and when De Gea got there before him, he followed through by standing on the Spaniard’s right shin.

He will miss Liverpool’s Premier League games at Arsenal and at home to Newcastle United, as well as their FA Cup quarter-final replay away to second-tier Blackburn Rovers on April 8.

Meanwhile, Angel Di Maria’s Manchester United future was plunged into doubt after it emerged he was berated by Louis van Gaal after Sunday’s win at Anfield.

Van Gaal was unhappy with Di Maria’s performance as a second-half substitute and gave the Argentinian a dressing down, report the Manchester Evening News.

Club record signing Di Maria is also believed to be keen to leave United in the summer, with Paris Saint-Germain monitoring his development at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal’s blast is the latest setback for £59,7million Di Maria, who is experiencing a poor run of form in the United team and has lost his place to Ashley Young.

Although Di Maria assisted Juan Mata’s winner at Anfield and provided the pass that caused Emre Can to foul Daley Blind and concede a penalty, he struggled against the Merseysiders’ 10 men.

Van Gaal hinted after the 2-1 win at Liverpool certain individuals had contributed to United’s unimpressive second-half showing.

“In the second-half everything is changing because of (Steven Gerrard’s) red and then we are not anymore playing like a team,” he said.

“We are running with the ball, unnecessary losses of the ball, so that was not so good.”

Di Maria’s confidence has noticeably plummeted since an attempted break-in at his Prestbury mansion in January.

Last month, he was substituted twice in successive games — ignominiously at half-time in the win over Sunderland — and was sent off in United’s FA Cup defeat to Arsenal two weeks ago.

Van Gaal’s reaction to Di Maria’s weekend performance is a particularly bitter blow after the Dutchman showed plenty of compassion to the former Real Madrid midfielder after the attempted raid on his home.

And Manchester United’s on-loan striker Radamel Falcao hinted on Tuesday he could leave the club at the end of the season in search of more regular football, but said he was still committed to the English side.

Colombia forward Falcao missed last year’s World Cup through injury then moved on loan from Monaco to United where he has seen limited first-team action and scored few goals under manager Louis van Gaal.

“I think any footballer needs to play and is happy playing. I’m totally committed to the club, there are eight matches to go (in the Premier League) and anything can happen,” Falcao told Colombia’s Radio Caracol. — AFP.