The Guardian says Mascherano could face a violent conduct charge from the Football Association after appearing to swing an arm and strike Jermaine Beckford on the back of his head during Liverpool's 1-0 Carling Cup win at Leeds United last night.
When Beckford appeared to pull Liverpool's Argentinian midfielder back at a throw-in, Mascherano swivelled, raised an arm and caught the striker on the head with a forearm. Beckford collapsed to the ground clutching his head but Alan Wiley, the referee, took no action and the forward played on.
Rafael Benítez, Liverpool's manager, 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, was sanguine but more cynical. "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."