Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shake hands as rivals Liverpool and Manchester United clash
Sunday 23 September 2012
Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra shook hands before an emotional meeting between great rivals Liverpool and Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League today.
It had been hoped the pair would make the gesture in a show of unity, as Liverpool played their first game at Anfield since the Hillsborough Independent Panel absolved Liverpool supporters of any blame in their findings on the 1989 stadium disaster, which took the lives of 96 Reds fans.
Liverpool forward Suarez refused to shake United defender Evra's hand in the league meeting between the sides at Old Trafford in February.
Today's handshakes were part of a well co-ordinated series of pre-match events aimed at ensuring the first Liverpool home game since that damning judgement on the Hillsborough tragedy was delivered passed off peacefully.
Both teams emerged wearing tracksuits bearing the number 96, while United legend Sir Bobby Charlton presented flowers to Liverpool counterpart Ian Rush before respective skippers Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs released 96 red balloons.
A mosaic was also displayed around three sides of the ground during the traditional playing of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.
Although fears had been expressed about the behaviour of United's fans ahead of the game, early signs were encouraging.
While some sang anti-Liverpool songs on their way into the stadium, none made any reference to Hillsborough.
In addition, their supporters applauded when a tribute to the Hillsborough families was read out prior to kick-off.
Once the game started both sets of fans traded insults, although a refrain of 'Where's your famous Munich song' from the United fans drew boos.
Earlier, Charlton had been greeted with warm applause on his arrival at the stadium, while fellow 1968 European Cup winner Paddy Crerand chatted with home supporters.
And, while Sir Alex Ferguson, Robin van Persie and Evra, who had been overlooked for the captaincy in the absence of Nemanja Vidic, were booed as they made their way off the team coach, the reaction was half-hearted.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players in bid to look to the long term
Loic Remy joins Chelsea: Striker adds artillery to Diego Costa's firepower
Leicester vs Arsenal player ratings: Who was the star man? Wes Morgan? Leonard Ulloa? Alexis Sanchez?
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Tottenham vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? Raheem Sterling? Alberto Moreno? Or new-boy Mario Balotelli?
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward