Warnock and Houllier spat over Henchoz 'spit' may interest FA
THE Football Association seems certain to become involved in the row between Neil Warnock and Gerard Houllier over claims that Stephane Henchoz spat at the Sheffield United manager last night.
Television footage of the incident was inconclusive but it clearly showed Liverpool coach Sammy Lee pulling the Swiss defender away from the confrontation at the end of the Worthington Cup tie.
Liverpool reached the final for the second time in three seasons after finally overcoming the First Division promotion chasers at Anfield, and they will now play the winners of tonight’s clash between Blackburn and Manchester United in Cardiff on March 2.
But their success will be overshadowed by the continued war of words between Warnock and Houllier.
Warnock claimed Henchoz spat in his direction at the end of last night’s 2-0 Liverpool victory, while Houllier insists that his defender merely spat at the ground.
The Blades boss also felt that Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland should have been sent off for handling the ball outside the box.
The FA will certainly want to review video evidence as well as wait for referee Alan Wiley’s report.
It was a predictably acrimonious end to this semi-final showdown which Liverpool finally won 3-2 on aggregate after clinching a victory in the second leg thanks to goals from El Hadji Diouf and Michael Owen.
Houllier has been upset by Warnock’s methods and tactics throughout the tie, and brushed aside the Henchoz and Kirkland incidents by launching a broadside at the Sheffield United boss.
Houllier said: "Neil’s a good manager doing a good job for his club, but he doesn’t need to attack others to promote his club."
Warnock had claimed Liverpool players refused to autograph a shirt for him after the first leg and declined to exchange shirts.
But Houllier said: "I’ll defend my team. Neil speaks a bit too loudly, he said a lot of things that are not true. That we didn’t sign shirts or exchange them; we don’t have that much control over our players."
Of the spitting allegation, Warnock said: "Sammy Lee knew what happened, Stephane Henchoz knows. He spat at me and that wasn’t very sporting.
"What are they saying? That he spat on the ground? I won’t be changing my view."
Houllier defended his man by saying: "I was right there, I saw what happened and he didn’t spit at Neil. He spat on the ground. He was not happy, he knew people had been wound up, but he did not spit in the direction of Neil - I saw it.
"I don’t expect the FA to get involved, players spit on the floor all the time."
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