The pair were involved in a flash point on the touchline during last month’s FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield, with Firmino reacting angrily after Holgate pushed him over the advertising hoardings. The pair had to be separated and the Everton player was then incensed at something said to him by Firmino.

But after being cleared b y the FA last night, Firmino issued a statement in which he said: “As difficult as it has been to remain publicly silent, given the serious and damaging nature of what it was claimed I said during the game, I did so to demonstrate my respect for the process and to allow the issue to be investigated in the most thorough way.

“It is critical for football that tackling racism and all forms of discrimination is taken extremely seriously.

“As someone who has experienced racist abuse during my life, I know how damaging and hurtful it can be.

“Now the process is concluded, I would like to place on record, for the avoidance of any doubt, I did not say the word, or a variation of the word, that was claimed and subsequently reported in the media.

“I did not use any language that referenced race.”

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