Steven Gerrard says that he will celebrate if he scores a last-minute goal at Old Trafford tomorrow which he knows to have been a handball.
At the end of a week in which his Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez has been subjected to what seems like disproportionate criticism for scoring having controlled with his hand at Mansfield in the FA Cup third round, Gerrard said: "I'm not going to lie and say I would run to the linesman or referee and say that I've handballed it at Old Trafford. What would Wayne Rooney do?"
Gerrard observed that Manchester United had never acknowledged their "offence" in 2005 when Pedro Mendes's goal for Tottenham looped over Roy Carroll's goal-line, only to be disallowed. "What did Roy Carroll do all those years ago when the ball was four yards over the line? I never saw Alex Ferguson or Roy Carroll run to the referee or linesman and say it was over the line, did you?
"That's football. These things happen. You don't go out to intentionally handball and I don't think Luis did it intentionally. I'm not saying it's right but have Mansfield never had a bit of luck or had a decision that maybe wasn't right go their way? A goal was maybe offside or a handball? Put it this way: I don't think as big a deal would have been made of it if it had been Daniel Sturridge."
Sir Alex Ferguson, who claimed he had not watched Liverpool's FA Cup tie, despite the approaching encounter with Brendan Rodgers's side, delivered a veiled warning to referee Howard Webb that he does not want to see Suarez benefiting tomorrow as he did at Field Mill last Sunday. "I just hope we don't suffer from some of the decisions that have gone his way in terms of that," the Manchester United manager said. "We want it to be a good game on Sunday. Over the years the Liverpool-Manchester United games have been relatively free of controversy."
Gerrard reiterated the assertion he made in the latest issue of Liverpool's club magazine, published this week, that Suarez is the best striker he has played alongside – some claim from the man who lined up with Fernando Torres. He declared that the controversies Suarez attracts mean that he does not get the credit he deserves. "He will [get the credit] from me," Gerrard said. "He will probably not after everything that's happened and everything he's been through. Probably not. But he will from me."