LONDON - Roberto Firmino's defence against racism allegations could be strengthened by the fact that referee Bobby Madley did not hear him use offensive language towards Everton’s Mason Holgate at Anfield last Friday.
The FA are investigating Holgate’s accusation and plan to interview both players and the match officials this week.
But Sportsmail understands that Madley stated in his report that he was unaware that Liverpool’s Brazilian forward had used racist language, which could be significant as he was positioned between the two players at the time.
As the FA confirmed on Saturday, Madley "was made aware of an allegation" and "has subsequently reported this" to the governing body.
Lip-reading experts have claimed that the Brazilian said: "Es maluco, filho da puta?" That translates as: "Are you crazy, you son of a bitch?"
Holgate then complained to Madley after the game that Firmino had used the word ‘negro’.
But if Firmino does dispute the claims, his defence is sure to highlight that Madley was perfectly placed and did not take action.