Liverpool striker Luis Suarez looks set to face a Football Association investigation after manager Brendan Rodgers labelled his biting of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic "unacceptable".
The Uruguay international's equaliser in the seventh minute of added time to secure a 2-2 draw was lost in yet more controversy to engulf the 26-year-old. Managing director Ian Ayre cancelled a scheduled flight to Australia, where he was due to promote the club's pre-season tour, to deal swiftly with the fall-out having learned lessons from previous public relations disasters.
He described Suarez's behaviour as "not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt" and said he would be dealt with internally - most likely by way of a heavy fine. Liverpool stopped short of imposing their own ban on the striker but he is likely to be ruled out for the remainder of the season once the FA's disciplinary process kicks in.
"Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behaviour is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this," said Rodgers.
The player issued his own apology - something he failed to do adequately when found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra last season, for which he was banned for eight matches - first on Twitter and then via an official club statement.
"I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behaviour earlier today during our match against Chelsea," he said. "I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanovic to speak to him personally. I apologise also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down."
Later in the evening, Suarez returned to Twitter to say he had spoken personally to Ivanovic.
"I've just spoken to Ivanovic on the phone and I could apologise directly to him. Thanks for accepting," he wrote.
Ayre, having been one of many criticised for a lack of leadership during the Evra affair, took personal charge of the situation and held a meeting with Rodgers after the match in which they reviewed footage and formulated their response.
"Luis has made an unreserved apology for his actions," said Ayre. "His behaviour is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down. We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA."