United go top after Suarez handshake snub

Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1

The simmering feud between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra exploded at Old Trafford as Manchester United went top of the Premier League.

On his first start since serving an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra at Anfield in October, Suarez refused to offer his hand during the traditional pre-match handshake.

Evra reacted angrily and after apparently trying to confront Suarez in the tunnel at the end of the first half celebrated victory in close proximity to a disconsolate Suarez.

The Uruguayan continued to walk down the tunnel as some of Liverpool's players took umbrage at Evra's celebrations, remonstrating with the defender as tempers threatened to boil over.

Rio Ferdinand had earlier refused to shake Suarez's hand either, emphasising the depth of his feeling at recent events.

Amid the rancour, United emerged with three precious points as Wayne Rooney's second-half double sent them top of the Premier League.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men had to survive a nervy 10 minutes at the end though after Suarez's close-range finished had halved the deficit.

Reaction to Suarez was swift and damning and Evra was so obviously not amused.

Ferdinand might not have thought so, but it was probably just as well he bore the brunt of Evra's intended challenge on Suarez inside the first minute, otherwise the United skipper would have been in trouble.

Nothing much happened for a long time after that, with the game getting stuck in a midfield scrap.

Glen Johnson had the clearest opportunity, only to curl his shot wide after skipping inside Evra.

Rafael responded with a similar opportunity, which was saved by Pepe Reina.

It was not long before United opened their visitors up though.

Paul Scholes continued his run after finding Ryan Giggs with a quite brilliant pass to the left touchline.

When Giggs delivered the cross, Scholes was all on his own on the edge of the six-yard box.

It should have been the opener. Instead, the veteran midfielder's header went straight at Reina, who batted it away.

After the flurry of activity, the contest reverted back to the mundane.

That was until the final minute of the half, when Ferdinand sent Suarez to the deck with a tackle TV replays showed was perfectly legal.

Suarez felt differently and when referee Phil Dowd refused to award the free-kick that would surely have brought Ferdinand's dismissal, he reacted furiously.

Booting the ball at towards the dug-out as the half-time whistle blew, Suarez had to be escorted down the tunnel by team-mates.

Once inside though, the whole thing exploded once more, with Evra apparently intent on confronting the Uruguayan, with players from both sides involved in a melee that required police intervention.

The Football Association will be wanting to know more about that but the spark suited United better judging by the way they began the second half.

When Jordan Henderson could only get the faintest of touches to Giggs' curling corner, it sent the ball straight to Rooney.

On his own at the far post, the England striker swept home a first-time shot.

The home fans barely had time to catch their breath before Rooney struck again.

This time, Liverpool only had themselves to blame as Jay Spearing surrendered possession to Valencia in a dangerous area.

Unselfishly, Valencia found Rooney immediately and the United man finished off his 17th Premier League goal of the season.

The whole complexion of the afternoon had changed.

After Michael Carrick had sent Suarez flying, Rooney was denied a hat-trick when he brilliant effort was ruled out for an earlier foul by Jonny Evans.

More good work from Valencia presented Rooney with another opportunity, which he spurned.

It triggered a double substitution from Kenny Dalglish, who introduced Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy.

Then, after Danny Welbeck had scuffed a shot straight to Reina, Charlie Adam came on.

Suarez remained throughout, so was on hand to finish off after United's defence had got themselves in a tangle as they tried to clear Adam's free-kick and the ball bounced kindly off Ferdinand.

Welbeck would have eased a few nerves if he had not wasted a good chance on United's next attack.

However, after an excellent save from David de Gea to deny Johnson in stoppage time and Suarez missing from close range when he was offside anyway, the hosts held on to claim a valuable win, even if the hope of both clubs that the match should remembered for the football was sadly not met.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable