Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is reportedly at risk of being suspended for the Reds' huge upcoming Premier League clashes against Arsenal and Manchester City, after being accused of diving during the thumping Boxing Day win over Newcastle.
Salah scored from the penalty spot in the 4-0 victory at Anfield. He won the spot kick himself after going down under pressure from Newcastle defender Paul Dummett, yet the Egyptian could fall foul of FA rules if he is deemed to have deliberately deceived the referee.
The FA has the power to retrospectively ban players believed to have successfully conned officials, with Everton's Oumar Niasse and West Ham's Manuel Lanzini both having served the automatic two-game ban since the rules were brought into effect.
Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey tweeted in response to the incident, saying: "If we are going to rid this disease of simulation Salah has to face retrospective action and receive a two-match ban."
The Sun later reported that an FA panel consisting of one ex-referee, one ex-player and one ex-manager will meet on Thursday to determine whether Salah deliberately deceived match official Graham Scott. If they unanimously decide that he did as a result of 'clear and overwhelming evidence', then an automatic two-game ban will be applied.
"Mo Salah should face a two-match ban if the simulation panel are consistent," Halsey then told the tabloid after his earlier tweet. "Newcastle defender Paul Dummett does put his hand on Salah's arm, but the Liverpool forward does not need to go to ground in that manner and it is an act of simulation."
In the eyes of the retired referee, Salah went down 'just as easily' as Niasse and Lanzini in past cases of this manner, adding that the Liverpool star 'could easily face the same punishment'.
The Liverpool Echo unsurprisingly took a dim view of the 'dive' claims, labelling Halsey's accusations against Salah as 'bizarre' and 'ridiculous'.
Liverpool's win took them six points clear at the top of the Premier League table after reigning champions and title favourites Manchester City lost for a third time in the space of four games.