Babel sorry for dig at Webb

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Ryan Babel has apologised for comments he made about referee Howard Webb in the aftermath of Liverpool`s FA Cup exit to Manchester United.

The Holland international used his Twitter account to post a mocked-up picture of Webb wearing a United shirt, after the World Cup official awarded the home side a first-minute penalty and sent off Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

The Football Association confirmed to Press Association Sport that they would be looking into the matter, as Babel also wrote: "And they call him one of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH." SMH is an abbreviation for "shaking my head" but the 24-year-old has since added: "My apology if they take my posted pic seriously. This is just an emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb."

Last January, Babel criticised former Reds manager Rafael Benitez on the social networking site, and he is not the first Liverpool player to court online controversy this weekend.

On Saturday, defender Glen Johnson, who missed Sunday's game as his wife had gone into labour, launched an attack on TV pundit Paul Merson after he criticised his performances for the Reds.

"Comments from alcoholic drug abusers are not really gonna upset me and who is Paul Merson to judge players, he was average at the best of times," Johnson wrote. "The only reason he's on that show is coz he gambled all his money away. The clown!"

A number of people complained that Johnson had brought up Merson's former drug problems and the comments were soon deleted.

Back to Sunday - and new Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish called Webb's penalty decision a "joke" and also disputed Gerrard's dismissal, but his son Paul, the former Newcastle striker, went even further via his own Twitter account.

He claimed: "Fergie has his puppet Howard Webb on a piece of string."

He also made fun of Webb being given an MBE at the start of the year, adding: "Howard Webb MBE. Manc of the Busby Empire."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Ryan Babel
Glen Johnson
Premier League
Paul Merson
Newcastle United
Kenny Dalglish
Manchester United
Steven Gerrard
FA Cup

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