Manchester United and Liverpool, no matter the table position (which is always United higher up the charts in the last 20 years), is always the most heated big rivalry in the Premier League. With United’s title hopes on the line, with Liverpool’s European dreams on the line, the Suarez-Evra presence, with Ferguson and Dalglish steering the wheels, we’re in for a fiery one.
Suddenly, Alex Ferguson is against racism. Timing, as always, is crucial with everything the Sir says. No surprise he chose to speak out against the truly disgusting disease among fans just before the Saturday clash against the team he hates more than anything else.
I don’t understand at all where it’s coming from. This is a moment where we have to take stock and we should do something about it if it’s surfacing again, and be really hard and firm on any form or shape of racism. There have been a couple of examples recently which is not good. In 2012, you can’t believe it.
It was obvious maybe 20 years ago and the improvements have been for everyone to see. I have had some fantastic black players, absolutely magnificent black players, and with every one of them I have enjoyed my working relationship with them.
Ferguson wasn’t the only one from United to take a jab at Liverpool and Luis Suarez. Wayne Rooney, who scored twice from the penalty spot, enjoying Howard Webb’s easy lips on the whistle, has been a busy tweeter lately. From his thoughts on Pepe during the Clasico, his boredom with the Super Bowl and Luis Suarez of course. If you enjoy light reading, just check it out.
Well, Luis Suarez made his return after the eight match ban without scoring many goals, but with some pain inflicting on Scott Parker. An eye gouge and a kick to the abs, all apparently accidental, were enough for Rooney, who tends to forget all of his outbursts and occasional violent acts on the pitch (elbow to McCarthy in the face), to deem Suarez a man who should be sent off. All in the sake of heating things up, with the Old Trafford scene already a place where referees tend to make mistakes.
Kenny Dalglish went on the attack immediately after the Tottenham game, claiming Suarez shouldn’t have been banned - Fantastic for us to get Suarez back – he should never have been out in the first place. It would have been totally unfair to start him, having not played since Boxing Day. As much as we admire and love him, we’ve also got to manage him.
Surez himself? He seems ready, at least mentally, if you buy into what he says, to face the warm reception he’ll receive when he walks on the pitch on Saturday - I was not depressed at all. I knew what I did and there is a kind of football law that says ‘what happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch and that’s the end of the story.
I know against Man United it is going to be tense because I’m going to face Evra. But I’m used to having fans whistle at me. I hope nothing unusual happens. I’ll have to forget what happened for that moment. I do know Man United fans are going to try to make me feel uncomfortable. But I have to tell them – they are going to spur me on if they whistle at me.
Evra himself is talking about Manchester United injuries and how they have to fight on. He made a grievous error during the FA Cup loss at Anfield, and is wise to stay quiet about a subject we’ve been hearing too much about, instead of actual football. Will there be a handshake? I believe so.