Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Barclays Premier League [Print without images]

Sunday, January 9, 2011
Player's Twitter post raises eyebrows

Associated Press

LONDON -- Liverpool winger Ryan Babel could face disciplinary action from England's Football Association after posting to Twitter a digitally altered picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt.

Webb awarded a penalty shot against Liverpool and later ejected its captain, Steven Gerrard, in Man United's 1-0 victory Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup.

Before linking to the image of Webb, Babel wrote on Twitter: "And they call him one of the best referees. That's a joke."

The FA later told The Associated Press: "We will definitely look into this matter."

Babel could be charged with improper conduct despite later tweeting: "Sorry Howard Webb! My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just a emotional reaction after losing an important game."

Webb ruled that Liverpool defender Daniel Agger fouled United striker Dimitar Berbatov 30 seconds into the match. Ryan Giggs scored the ensuing penalty kick. The referee ejected Gerrard for a challenge on Michael Carrick in the 32nd minute.

Babel was part of the Netherlands squad that lost the World Cup final to Spain in July after Webb booked seven Dutch players and ejected another. Babel didn't play in the match.

Babel's use of Twitter has got him in trouble before. He was fined two weeks' wages last January after complaining on the social networking site about being dropped by then-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

On Saturday, Babel's Liverpool teammate, Glen Johnson, launched a Twitter tirade against Paul Merson after the former Arsenal midfielder-turned-TV pundit had criticized the defender on Sky Sports.

Johnson hit back on Twitter by referring to Merson's addiction to alcohol, cocaine and gambling in the 1990s.

The controversies came on the weekend that Kenny Dalglish was hired to manage Liverpool until the end of the season. Dalglish is the only Premier League manager to use Twitter.