Dirty Tackle

Jonjo Shelvey blames Alex Ferguson for his red card

Jonjo Shelvey points the finger at Ferguson...literally. (AP)

Man United came away from Anfield with a 2-1 win and kept a 10-man Liverpool winless through their first five matches of the season. The referee tested the pre-match goodwill of the Hillsborough tribute and Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra finally shaking hands with several major calls that went against Liverpool starting with Jonjo Shelvey's straight red in the 39th minute for a lunging challenge on Jonny Evans, who went for the ball with two feet himself (gif here).

As Shelvey walked off, he exchanged words with Sir Alex Ferguson, accusing him of influencing the officials' decision. Though Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool a 1-0 lead just after halftime, Rafael equalized just five minutes later and, in the 81st minute, Man United were given a penalty that Robin van Persie converted to get the 2-1 win.

After the match, Ferguson and Shelvey had slightly different takes on the red card. From ESPN:

"It was a clear red card, it was dangerous, I don't think he went for the ball," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "Jonny Evans went for the ball, got the ball, and there was no other decision the ref could have given.

"He was trying to blame me I suppose!" Ferguson said of Shelvey's reaction. "He can apologise if he likes. He should do that, he's responsible for his own actions."

Shelvey did apologize through his Twitter account, saying:

"I apologise to the fans for getting sent off but no way was I pulling out of that tackle in a game of that importance. I'm sorry.

I have also apologised to Sir Alex, just where I come from people don't grass people up to get someone sent off."

The backhanded apology to Ferguson was later deleted, leaving just the apology to the fans.

This isn't the first time Ferguson and his club have been accused of wielding shadowy influence, nor is it the first time a Liverpool player as acknowledged that belief. After Luis Suarez was banned eight matches for using racial slurs against Patrice Evra last season, he told Uruguayan TV, "People at Liverpool are sure that it was a way that Manchester United used to put me out of the team and stop Liverpool. In England, Manchester United's political power is strong and you must respect that and shut your mouth." Apparently Shelvey doesn't agree with that last part.

Man United fans helpfully point Shelvey where he has to go. (Getty)