| 16.5°C Dublin

Shelvey slams 'grass' Fergie as Reds fume over red card

Close

Jonjo Shelvey argues with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after being sent off

Jonjo Shelvey argues with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after being sent off

Jonjo Shelvey argues with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after being sent off

Jonjo Shelvey insisted that Alex Ferguson was responsible for his dismissal at Anfield yesterday, appearing to brand him a "grass".

The Liverpool midfielder was involved in an ugly confrontation with the Manchester United manager as he stormed towards the tunnel after being given a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Jonny Evans.

Shelvey (20) jabbed his finger at Ferguson and was escorted towards the dressing-rooms by a police officer in the first turning point of an emotionally charged afternoon.

The rival managers disagreed on referee Mark Halsey's decision, with Brendan Rodgers claiming that Evans should also have been sent off.

Shelvey later used his Twitter account to reveal that he had tried to make his peace with Ferguson and the fans for his conduct, but it was half-hearted as he also made it clear that he believed pressure had been applied on the referee.

He said: "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."

Ferguson was incredulous at that response, but Rodgers is still waiting for his first league victory as Liverpool manager and insisted Halsey was guilty of "poor decisions" as he reflected on an undeserved defeat that leaves the club in the relegation zone.

Shelvey became the fifth player to be sent off in the last six league meetings between the two old rivals.

And Halsey also infuriated Liverpool by awarding a contentious late penalty to United after Glen Johnson appeared to foul Antonio Valencia.

Rodgers said: "I'm bitterly disappointed because I thought the best team lost. Our performance in the first half was outstanding, but what you can't control are the decisions of the referee.

"The players were outstanding and we dominated most of the game, but I know that if Jonjo Shelvey got sent off, then Jonny Evans gets sent off as well.

"It's a ball that both players have to go for, but the Liverpool player can't get sent off (on his own).

"It's very, very harsh. It was never a penalty. Glen Johnson made a fantastic run back in there and I don't know why he (Valencia) went down.

"There were a number of poor decisions that went against us. They cost us the game. It was one of those days when we never got a decision that helped us."

Rodgers' problems could increase, as he revealed Daniel Agger could have suffered suspected medial ligament damage. United's victory was their first at Anfield since December 2007, and Ferguson conceded it had been far from a vintage performance.

"It is a great result for us but we did not play well," he said. "In the first half Liverpool dominated us, in the second half we had better possession, but they had 10 men, we can't take great credit for that.

"But a win is a win, we are pleased with the result, but not the performance.

"Jonjo Shelvey's sending-off was a clear red card, there was a dangerous attempt to go for the ball. Jonny Evans went for the ball and got it, and I don't think there was any other decision referee could make.

"He blamed me! But he is young and he will realise the stupidity of it." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent