The Uruguayan striker has now completed his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season and could return to Liverpool’s squad to face the Red Devils in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup clash at Old Trafford.
The Merseysiders beat the Premier League champions 1-0 at Anfield at the beginning of this month in what has undoubtedly been a nightmare start for the former Everton manager since he arrived to take the reigns at United from Sir Alex Ferguson.
1) No love lost between Moyes and Liverpool
Firstly, following a horrendous defeat on Sunday to Manchester City, the last thing Moyes needed was another clash with Liverpool. Having spent more than a decade in charge at their Merseyside rivals Everton has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to endear him to the Reds and I’m sure the feeling of animosity is mutual.
Moyes managerial record against Liverpool is also pretty dismal – out of 26 games against the Reds, Moyes has won just four games, losing 14 and drawing 8. Liverpool have scored a total of 34 goals against a David Moyes team and his teams have scored 19 against them.
2) No love lost between Moyes and Suarez
Meanwhile, Moyes and Suarez have previous – not only has the 26-year-old wind-up merchant scored three goals in four appearances against a Moyes team (Everton) but he’s also added three assists and, crucially, Suarez has never been on the losing side against Everton.
3) Diving Accusations
Suarez is drawn to controversy and scandal like a fly to manure – when David Moyes accused the Liverpool striker of being a diver, he ended up with a little more than he bargained for.
Prior to last season’s 220th Merseyside derby, Moyes said:
"Last year's one was a dive and a really poor decision by the referee. It ruined the game."
Asked by a reporter if he feared a repeat of the incident in which Suarez’s ‘simulation’ caused Everton’s Jack Rodwell to be sent off in the 23rd minute, Moyes responded:
"I do because I think he [Suárez] has got history. But I'm not the referee. What it will do is turn the supporters away from football because they [players who dive] are very good at it.”
4) Diving Celebration
However, in the 220th Merseyside derby, following Moyes’ accusatory comments, Suarez responded to the Toffees’ manager in a typically derisory fashion – the striker scored and rushed over to the touchline, threw himself into the air right in front of Moyes’ technical area, sprawled his arms out wide and landed flat on his chest with a smile that spread from ear to ear.
Meanwhile, Moyes was left even more embarrassed by his captain Phil Neville in that fixture who was yellow carded for diving and came out publicly (along with Moyes) to apologize for his embarrassing misconduct, especially after the Scottish boss had made such a point about Suarez before the game. All in all, it was a humbling game for the boss.
As if that wasn’t enough to be getting on with for the long-suffering manager, Luis Suarez also has previous with United’s vice-captain Patrice Evra – the Uruguayan was handed an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine by the FA in late-2011 for racially abusing the Frenchman.
In a 115-page report filed on the findings of the FA’s investigation into the incident, the FA said that Suárez ‘damaged the image of English football around the world’.
Then, as if racially abusing Evra several occasions throughout that match in October 2011, when Liverpool met United again in February at Old Trafford, Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand, leading to Evra’s clear frustration and, subsequently, Rio Ferdinand refusing to shake Suarez’ hand.
As if losing your first Manchester derby, losing your first Liverpool-United clash, failing to land your top transfer targets and being 8th in the Premier League table wasn’t enough, David Moyes now has to deal with this guy. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Although, the good news for Liverpool fans is that Suarez is apparently 'chomping at the bit' and can't wait to get out there. Here we go again.
image: © RuaraidhG