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FA investigating potential racial incident involving Firmino, Holgate

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LIVERPOOL, England (AP) Liverpool says the club will cooperate with soccer authorities following a confrontation between striker Roberto Firmino and Everton opponent Mason Holgate during the Merseyside derby match on Friday.

[ MORE: Liverpool, Man United advance thanks to late winners ]

Holgate angrily remonstrated with the referee, Bobby Madley, after being verbally abused by Firmino toward the end of the first half of the third-round match in the FA Cup at Anfield.

“The club and player will fully co-operate with the relevant authorities to ensure the facts are established in a thorough manner, if deemed necessary or requested,” Liverpool said. “While that process is ongoing, we will not be making any further comment.”

Asked whether Holgate accused Firmino of using a racist term, Everton manager Sam Allardyce said, “I’m telling you nothing until whatever systems are used to find out what exactly happened and what didn’t happen.”

“Whatever happens (outside football),” Allardyce added, “has to be dealt with the authorities.”

[ MORE: Mourinho hits back in ongoing feud with Conte ]

Allardyce didn’t want to discuss if he had spoken to Holgate about the incident.

“I’ve left it with the director of football (Steve Walsh) today,” he said. “I said to sort that out.”

The incident was sparked by Holgate shoving Firmino into — and over — the advertising boards surrounding the field in the 40th minute. The Brazil striker vaulted back onto the playing surface and sprinted toward Holgate, swearing in Portuguese. Referee Bobby Madley stepped between them to intervene.

Holgate then became aggrieved, and appeared to complain to Madley. Madley spoke to his the fourth official, before play continued.

[ MORE: Klopp hails Van Dijk’s “dream” debut, Reds’ fighting spirit ]

The incident will be included in the match report, which will go to the Football Association. The FA could then seek observations from both teams.

Everton hasn’t commented on the issue beyond Allardyce’s remarks.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he thought Madley and the fourth official were discussing whether to take action against Holgate for the original push on Firmino.

Klopp then said: “I had information that something happened … but I can’t say anything about it.”

Video: Fekir’s brilliant free kick has Lyon leading PSG

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Paris-Saint Germain has established itself as one of Europe’s best sides, but their opponent on Sunday isn’t playing scared against Neymar and Co.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints play to 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s ]

Lyon has taken a 1-0 lead inside the opening two minutes against the Parisians after a stunning free kick by Nabil Fekir caught PSG keeper Alphonse Aréola off his line.

The hosts could move all the way up to second place today with a victory over PSG, who holds the league lead in Ligue 1 with a nine-point advantage.

The 24-year-old Fekir has been a revelation for Lyon in his fifth season with the club, scoring his 19th goal in all competitions on Sunday.

That total has already surpassed his career-high from the 2014/15 season, when he eclipsed 15 goals.

USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie injured in Schalke draw

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Look away, U.S. Men’s National Team fans.

American and Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie was forced out of Sunday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Hanover 96 after the 19-year-old collided with Felix Kraus.

McKennie, who entered the match in the 62nd minute for Leon Goretzka, managed to stay on the field for nearly 20 minutes before being substituted out.

To this point there has been no indication that the young USMNT player’s injury is serious.

More to follow…

Watford announces Gracia as Silva replacement

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Watford’s replacement for fired manager Marco Silva is indeed veteran Spanish boss Javi Gracia.

[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]

The Hornets announced the 47-year-old’s hiring on Sunday, hours after firing Silva and blaming Everton’s pursuit of the manager for the club’s fall from European contender to the fringe of a relegation battle.

Watford is still four points clear of the drop following Southampton’s draw with Spurs on Sunday.

Gracia led Malaga to eighth and ninth place finishes in La Liga between 2014-16 before spending last season at Rubin Kazan.

Gracia, 47, has led promotion campaigns in Spain and has plenty of experience with perceived smaller clubs battling the drop zone.

Watford will hope the Hornets don’t reach that point after flirting with the Top Seven for the first quarter of the Premier League season.

Pochettino on sloppy Spurs draw, dismisses Malcom “rumor”

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Mauricio Pochettino knows St. Mary’s well, and the ex-Southampton boss has managed a rainy, sloppy match or three there in the past.

[ RECAP: Saints 1-1 Spurs ]

So he knows it’s possible to play well in those circumstances, leaving him feeling like Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday was a wasted opportunity against a struggling Saints side.

“It is temporary that Southampton are in the relegation zone, for sure they will push up the table,” Pochettino said. “It is two points we are going to miss at the end of the season because it is so tough between six or seven teams.”

[ MORE: Bertrand reacts to draw ]

So why couldn’t Spurs find their foothold? Well, aside from sickness keeping Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out of the lineup, a bug that may’ve affected more on the team, Spurs just weren’t up to snuff.

“We struggled to play,” Pochettino said. “It was in possession, we made mistakes which allowed them to play. To win the game we should do better and play better. It wasn’t great.

Pochettino was also asked about Spurs’ reported pursuit of 20-year-old Bordeaux star Malcom, who has seven goals and five assists in Ligue 1 this season.

“That is a rumor and I don’t want to speak about it. I am happy with our squad. We are open to quality players but you know very well it is difficult in this transfer window.”