TV analysts thought that the Argentine should have been dismissed, but only as a result of a second yellow card.
Ouch, that hurts: Mascherano's over-the-top challenge on Barry sends him crashing to the ground in agony. Even though the tackle merited a red card, referee Walton did not even award a free-kick.
In my opinion, it should have been a straight red. But for refereePeter Walton, not even a free-kick was justified, which surely means hedid not see the incident. Remember that this is the same ref who twoweeks ago had no hesitation in dismissing Manchester United's Nani fora two-footed lunge in the 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
Mascherano went over the top of the ball with force and into theside of Barry's leg above the ankle, and the incident is shown clearlyon video evidence which the FA will have studied yesterday.
If they feel that only a yellow card should have been issued, thenthey can take no action, saving the Argentine a three-match ban - onefor the dismissal and a further two because it would have been histhird sending-off this season.
If they see the challenge as red, and the charge is proven, thenLiverpool will be without their midfield enforcer for the next fivedomestic matches - three games plus one more for each of his twoprevious dismissals this season.
More from Graham Poll. GRAHAM POLL: It's about time that Wenger took his red-tinted glasses off21/02/10 GRAHAM POLL: Ref Hansson was right to allow Falcao's bizarre goal18/02/10 Graham Poll: Girls Aloud - it's official. why we should welcome Amy Fearn10/02/10 GRAHAM POLL: Martin Atkinson lets the Merseyside mayhem unfold as Liverpool and Everton raise red card count08/02/10 GRAHAM POLL: Alan Shearer and Anthony Gardner are lucky they don't face the same scrutiny as referees01/02/10 Graham Poll: Spurs are upset but no mistake.it was definitely a penalty24/01/10 Graham Poll: William Gallas's tackle on Mark Davies was a shocker, so why didn't FA act?21/01/10 Graham Poll: Mike Dean was wrong to award Manchester City their penalty20/01/10 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE Not that Mascherano was alone in escaping the correct punishmentthis weekend; Sunderland's Lorik Cana committed probably the worsttackle when he launched himself at speed, two footed at Arsenal'sEmmanuel Eboue.
Incredibly, the challenge resulted in only a yellow card from SteveBennett. And at the DW stadium, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez had everyreason to bemoan his luck after Alan Wiley allowed Tottenham's JermainDefoe to escape without censure after his two-footed swipe at GaryCaldwell.
Defoe had clearly lost his cool and lashed out at the defender which resulted in a free-kick but nothing more.
Two years ago Sportsmailhighlighted horror tackles being missed by referees who cannot rely onthe FA correcting their mistakes with retrospective action.
Hopefully, the last 10 days have been nothing more than a bliprather than a trend which could mar a fantastic climax to an absorbingseason.