Romelu Lukaku is set to escape a retrospective suspension from the Football Association for his challenge on Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in the Carling Cup quarter-final on Tuesday because of an unusual technicality.
The Chelsea striker caught Henderson with an ugly lunge, only for the referee Phil Dowd to caution the Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand, who was merely close to the scene, raising the prospect of mistaken identity. But because Dowd had a view of the challenge and deemed it worthy of only a yellow card, the FA has no scope to reassess the decision and upgrade it to a red, which would carry a three-match ban, despite the wrong player being censured.
The onus is on Chelsea to appeal on Bertrand's behalf in order to have the booking rescinded, and the FA have the power to transfer the caution to Lukaku, in this instance. Chelsea have not, as yet, indicated that they intend to appeal.
Henderson seemed relaxed about the incident, his initial anger doubtless diluted by Liverpool going on to record a 2-0 win. "I thought I had been studded a little bit when I got caught by the tackle," he said. "But I think it's just a kick. It swelled up a little bit after the game but with a couple of days' rest, I'm pretty sure it will be better."
Chelsea's 18-year-old midfielder Josh McEachran also looks to have escaped serious injury, although he does face a lay-off of 10 days. He hurt his ankle in a challenge with Jay Spearing and he was eventually forced off just before the interval. He left Stamford Bridge with his foot in a protective boot, and the scan on Wednesday morning revealed severe bruising and swelling.