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United charged by FA over players' misconduct in Liverpool defeat

Manchester United's players surrounded referee Craig Pawson midway through the first-half on Sunday after Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk challenged goalkeeper David de Gea.

Referee Craig Pawson (C) books Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea (3R) for dissent during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on 19 January 2020. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Manchester United have been charged by the Football Association (FA) over misconduct of their players in the 2-0 defeat by runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.

United's players surrounded referee Craig Pawson midway through the first-half on Sunday after Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk challenged goalkeeper David de Gea.

Roberto Firmino subsequently scored, but his goal was ruled out following a VAR review of Van Dijk's clash with the Spanish goalkeeper.

De Gea dropped the ball which the defence failed to clear allowing Firmino to take advantage and score.

"Manchester United FC has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20(a)," read the FA statement.

"It is alleged that the club failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 26th minute of the Premier League fixture against Liverpool FC on Sunday (19/01/20)."

A furious De Gea led United protests, rushing over to Pawson to vent his frustration. The Spaniard, who was booked for his actions, was joined by a number of his team-mates in surrounding Pawson.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not appear best pleased that the charge had been brought.

"Maybe I shouldn't talk too much and let's get that decision done," said Solskjaer at Tuesday's eve of match press conference with Burnley.

"But it was overturned. I didn't see it (the players reaction) and I reacted myself.

"It was a foul."

Van Dijk had already opened the scoring for Liverpool prior to the incident and Mohamed Salah added a second in time added on to extend Liverpool's lead over Manchester City to 16 points - United trail by 30 points.

United have until Thursday to respond to the charge.