The Guardian says Mascherano is likely to face a Football Association charge and an increased suspension for his furious reaction to being sent off.

Already booked for a 10th-minute lunge on Paul Scholes, the 23-year-old Argentinian raced 20 yards to question Steve Bennett's decision to book Fernando Torres for dissent and received an identical punishment from the referee. The red card for two bookable offences means he is suspended for Sunday's derby with Everton but his reaction, refusing to leave the pitch and haranguing Bennett before being ushered down the tunnel by Peter Crouch and a physio, invited further punishment.

Asked whether he feared the FA would make an example of Mascherano, Reds boss Rafa Benitez said: "The player was only asking. I don't think to ask is a big problem."