Former Liverpool midfielder Stewart Downing has recounted the scuffle between Manchester United and Liverpool’s players during a highly charged match at Old Trafford in 2012
Revealing all on the Under The Cosh podcast, a hotbed for entertaining behind-the-scenes football stories, Downing told of how Ferdinand hit Kuyt when the winger was not looking and the Dutchman subsequently “lost his head.”
Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
In a reply to the clip on Instagram, Ferdinand commented: “I swear I don’t even remember banging Dirk.
“I beg the FA don’t watch this coz they’ll charge me!!”
Downing began by saying: “Stuff was going back and forward, and then just before half-time, the ball lands to him [Suarez] and he just blasts the ball at the dugout.
“On the whistle, blasts it straight at the Man United bench. And he was sort of taking the full ground on.”
Downing continued, with the scoreline at 0-0 and United chasing the title that term: “We go in the tunnel and it kicks off.
“I dunno if it was sort of, like, I say planned… [Nemanja] Vidic wasn’t in the squad but he was in the tunnel.
“It was just kicking off.
“You see [Wayne] Rooney running down and I remember thinking ‘I’m definitely at the back here.’
“But Rooney was in the back going: ‘What’s going on?’ and I thought ‘keep him out of it’ because he might throw one.
“I think he was trying to break it up but Rio and Vidic have made a scene of it and big Pepe [Reina] got involved.
“I’m sure Rio clocked Dirk Kuyt on the sly, on the cheek,” as Downing began to chuckle.
“It was one of them where he [Kuyt] wasn’t looking and he’s [Ferdinand] clocked him, and he was like ‘I’m gonna kill him.’
“Dirk lost his head, ‘I’m gonna kill him.'”
The action then moved onto the pitch after half-time, with Rooney scoring twice within five minutes of the restart before Suarez scored a late consolation goal for Liverpool.
In the February of that campaign, the win was crucial for United, although rivals Manchester City would eventually pick up the title on goal difference.
Following the final whistle, Evra goaded Suarez by celebrating next to him in front of the Stretford End, adding fuel to the fire.
Sir Alex Ferguson claimed Suarez’s controversial decision to not shake Evra’s hand, which also led to Ferdinand snubbing the Uruguayuan, could have sparked a “riot.”
“Suarez is a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club,” Ferguson told BBC Sport . “He should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again.”
He continued in a separate television interview: “I couldn’t believe Suarez refused Evra’s handshake.
“You saw the referee [Phil Dowd]. He didn’t know what to do. It was a terrible start to the game and it created a terrible atmosphere.
“Racism is an important issue and football has come a long way since the days of bananas being thrown at John Barnes.”
Ferguson, however, admitted’s Evra’s full-time gestures to the crowd were unwise.
“Evra shouldn’t have jumped in front of Suarez in celebration at the end. He shouldn’t have done that.”
Ferdinand told MUTV : “After seeing what happened, I decided not to shake his hand … I lost all respect for the guy.
“It could have been resolved between the two players today. After this, it’s not great.”
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish hit back in his post-match interview, stating: “I think you’re bang out of order to blame Luis Suarez for anything that happened here today.”