Patrice Evra shakes the arm of an unwilling Luis Suarez. (Getty)
In their first meeting since Liverpool's Luis Suarez returned from his eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, Suarez continued the already tedious matter and proved he's not above lying to his own manager all during the nonsensical pre-match handshakes.
As the Liverpool players shook hands with their counterparts, Suarez tried to skip over Evra and shake David De Gea's hand, but Evra tried to force a gesture of peace by grabbing Suarez's arm. Suarez then yanked his appendage out of Evra's grasp and continued down the line. Rio Ferdinand, however, then refused to shake Suarez's hand in response to his petulance, thus ensuring that we are all still talking about something as pointless as handshakes (see the whole thing here).
Three days before the match, Kenny Dalglish told Liverpool's official website:
"People are already speculating on the pre-match ceremony, but from Luis's point of view we have spoken to him and I know he will shake the hand of Patrice Evra and the other Manchester United players before the game."
So, even before Suarez's second match back from his ban, he's already kicked Scott Parker in the stomach and refused to shake hands with the man he was found guilty of racially abusing. What a guy.
[Slideshow: The match that followed the handshake snub]
UPDATE: After the final whistle, Patrice Evra proved that he is not exactly the model of maturity either by exaggeratedly celebrating Man United's 2-1. And he just so happened to do it right next to Luis Suarez.
The referee and stewards quickly surrounded Evra and warned him not to make the situation worse than it already was. They then held him on the pitch until everyone else went down the tunnel.
Kenny Dalglish, meanwhile, took up the Arsene Wenger defense and said, "I never knew Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand. I wasn't there, I never saw it. It's contrary to what I've been told."
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson then stated, "Suarez is a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club. He should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again. He could have caused a riot." Apparently forgetting the time that Eric Cantona nearly incited a riot by kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan, yet still returning to play for Man United after his lengthy ban.
Despite what the score said, there were no true winners here. Just a whole lot of anger and resentment.
UPDATE II: Sanity prevails! After taking the night to consider the non-handshake situation between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra before Manchester United's 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday, Liverpool released three separate statements on their official website Sunday. While some Liverpool fans were still vehemently trying to argue that it was actually Evra who refused to shake Suarez's hand, Suarez has not only accepted blame, but apologized for it as well. He said:
"I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong.
"I've not only let him down, but also the Club and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.
"I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions.
"I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football."
In another statement, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre made a firm declaration on the club's position regarding what happened the day before:
"We are extremely disappointed Luis Suarez did not shake hands with Patrice Evra before yesterday's game. The player had told us beforehand that he would, but then chose not to do so.
"He was wrong to mislead us and wrong not to offer his hand to Patrice Evra. He has not only let himself down, but also Kenny Dalglish, his teammates and the Club. It has been made absolutely clear to Luis Suarez that his behaviour was not acceptable.
"Luis Suarez has now apologised for his actions which was the right thing to do. However, all of us have a duty to behave in a responsible manner and we hope that he now understands what is expected of anyone representing Liverpool Football Club."
And finally, Kenny Dalglish also apologized for his post-match remarks. He said:
"Ian Ayre has made the Club's position absolutely clear and it is right that Luis Suarez has now apologised for what happened at Old Trafford," said Dalglish.
"To be honest, I was shocked to hear that the player had not shaken hands having been told earlier in the week that he would do.
"But as Ian said earlier, all of us have a responsibility to represent this Club in a fit and proper manner and that applies equally to me as Liverpool manager.
"When I went on TV after yesterday's game I hadn't seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I'd like to apologise for that."
In short, these statements were a much needed touch of class from Liverpool that will hopefully go a long way in helping to defuse this ugly situation. Where Suarez's last apology was only for those who took offense to something he thought they shouldn't take offense to, this one is "for my actions" full stop. And this more reasoned, calming tone is a stark contrast to Liverpool's official statements, as well as Dalglish's attack-mode when in front of the press and discussing the Suarez-Evra debacle. Which was both surprising and unnerving. But this is a return to the high standard a club like Liverpool is held and will hopefully mean we can all stop talking about handshakes and 115-page reports for a while. Hooray!
Manchester United put out their own statement accepting the apology, and so that should be that.
- Patrice Evra
- Manchester United
- Kenny Dalglish