Wolves v Liverpool – Spearing, Bellamy and Kuyt start

It’s Liverpool’s last game without Luis Suarez as the Uruguayan star serves the last of his eight-match ban for that incident we’ll have to stop talking about sooner or later.

Kenny Dalglish has made a couple of changes from the side that despatched Manchester United from one cup on Saturday, bringing back one or two from the side that despatched Manchester City from another cup on Wednesday. Read more

Maybe that anger isn't a lack of respect

LUIS SUÁREZ has one game left of the eight-match suspension he got following on from the incident with Patrice Evra in October. By the time he returns the incident will have been in the headlines, or never far away, for the best part of four months.

For two and a half of those months the headlines sat above stories that were based on speculation and on anything that might be leaked from those in or around the two clubs and players. Since then, since the written reasons were published, the stories have been based on a mixture of that speculation and little more than a cursory glance at a handful of the 115 pages the FA panel produced to justify their decision.

There is no excuse for anyone who feels strongly about the incident to comment on it without having read the full report. Not now.

It came out on New Year’s Eve and in the urgency to get a reaction out it’s hardly a surprise the reaction was based on the summary spread out over the last few pages of the epic document. Four weeks on, why have those who keep talking in such strong terms about it still not bothered to read it?
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Maybe that anger isn’t a lack of respect

LUIS SUÁREZ has one game left of the eight-match suspension he got following on from the incident with Patrice Evra in October. By the time he returns the incident will have been in the headlines, or never far away, for the best part of four months.

For two and a half of those months the headlines sat above stories that were based on speculation and on anything that might be leaked from those in or around the two clubs and players. Since then, since the written reasons were published, the stories have been based on a mixture of that speculation and little more than a cursory glance at a handful of the 115 pages the FA panel produced to justify their decision.

There is no excuse for anyone who feels strongly about the incident to comment on it without having read the full report. Not now.

It came out on New Year’s Eve and in the urgency to get a reaction out it’s hardly a surprise the reaction was based on the summary spread out over the last few pages of the epic document. Four weeks on, why have those who keep talking in such strong terms about it still not bothered to read it?
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Four changes for Reds – Carra, Kelly, Maxi, Carroll

Forget the media-driven circus off the field, the place to keep your eyes this afternoon is on the pitch as Manchester United are the guests at Anfield for this 4th round cup tie.

Liverpool were outstanding on Wednesday as they sent Manchester City out of the Carling Cup and booked a place at Wembley, more of the same today could see Kenny Dalglish’s side in contention for a second trip to the new version of what used to be known as Anfield south.

Both sides should be up for this, even allowing for the usual motivation this fixture brings. Manchester United in particular might fear this is their main hope for silverware this season if their neighbours continue to keep them off top spot in the league. “Liverpool exist to win trophies,” so the old saying goes, and one man who is likely to have that belief is Mr Dalglish.

Andy Carroll was on the bench on Wednesday with Craig Bellamy keeping him out – and deservedly so given the performance Bellamy put in. Carroll starts today with Bellamy on the bench. Dirk Kuyt put in arguably his best performance of the season on Wednesday but he also drops to the bench, his replacement is Maxi Rodriguez.

At the back Martin Kelly comes in for Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher also starts. Whether he plays in midfield – he’s in the side at the expense of Charlie Adam – remains to be seen, but it looks like Kenny is planning to use three centre-backs.

For the other lot Wayne Rooney is out of the starting line up, Patrice Evra starts as captain with veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes also in from the off.

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Agger, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Downing, Maxi, Carroll.
Subs: Doni, Johnson, Coates, Kuyt, Adam, Shelvey, Bellamy.

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Valencia, Welbeck, Park.
Subs: Lindegaard, Fabio, Ferdinand, M Keane, Pogba, Berbatov, Hernandez.

Kanouté: We need to study facts in more depth to avoid false racial abuse allegations

Freddie Kanouté, the former West Ham and Tottenham striker now playing in Spain for Sevilla, agrees that despite the FA’s reluctance to accept it the Liverpool striker Luis Suárez might well have been punished for cultural differences.

Kanouté told the BBC’s World Football Focus that he’s seen those cultural differences first-hand, including in Seville where he’s now been based for six years and is fluent in the Spanish language: “It’s different in every country you know.

“Here, some people, they have a way to talk to each other. It’s true; when I arrived here I was a bit shocked because that’s their way to express themselves.”

Suárez was banned for eight matches after an FA-appointed panel decided he wasn’t a credible witness and instead took the word of his accuser, Patrice Evra, finding a charge of insulting behaviour with a reference to race proven. A 115-page report was issued where the panel tried to justify their reasons for making that decision, but few who have commented on the case have taken the time to read it in full, meaning the inconsistencies it is littered with have had very little coverage.
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We want to watch the match

IN a parallel universe somewhere, if such things exist, the Liverpool –Manchester United league game in October turned out a little bit differently. The first fifty-odd minutes were exactly the same; the rest of the game, to all but a couple of people, looked to have carried on exactly the same too. 

Evra still had that little tantrum about losing the toss. He still told the ref to book Downing and still got away without being booked himself. He still went down writhing in agony for what looked at least from some angles as an innocuous challenge from Suárez. If he was asked later why he’d writhed around in agony following that type of challenge he’d still say it was more painful for him to be caught there because of existing injury problems.

Five minutes after that challenge Evra still said something (best not repeated) to Suárez, something Suárez still didn’t hear. But in this parallel universe Suárez responded to the rest of Evra’s pestering with a word picked up from one of the local lads at Anfield.
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Questions that won't be answered

A COUPLE of weeks ago I started something I’d loosely titled “An open letter to Piara Powar, Lord Ouseley and the rest of them.” In the first paragraph it asked: “Are you all the same you anti-discrimination campaigners?”

I didn’t finish it; it was one of those pieces that have no end in sight because there’s so much to say. And this is no shorter, so apologies if you don’t like reading anything too lengthy.

It followed on from comments by Piara Powar, the latest in a number, that had themselves followed on from comments Lord Ouseley and a number of other anti-discrimination campaigners. It was shortly after the incident at Anfield involving Tom Adeyemi.

None of the more prominent anti-discrimination campaigners, along with the members of the press so eager to give them a platform to spout from, seemed to grasp exactly what was at the heart of Liverpool’s stance on the Luis Suárez incident. Those who have spoken out about it and defended the club or the player have been branded as racist and that has been fuelled in a large part by the comments made by Ouseley, Powar and a number of other anti-discrimination campaigners.

What they are all unable – or unwilling – to grasp is that people who were defending Suárez were not condoning racism. Read more

Questions that won’t be answered

A COUPLE of weeks ago I started something I’d loosely titled “An open letter to Piara Powar, Lord Ouseley and the rest of them.” In the first paragraph it asked: “Are you all the same you anti-discrimination campaigners?”

I didn’t finish it; it was one of those pieces that have no end in sight because there’s so much to say. And this is no shorter, so apologies if you don’t like reading anything too lengthy.

It followed on from comments by Piara Powar, the latest in a number, that had themselves followed on from comments Lord Ouseley and a number of other anti-discrimination campaigners. It was shortly after the incident at Anfield involving Tom Adeyemi.

None of the more prominent anti-discrimination campaigners, along with the members of the press so eager to give them a platform to spout from, seemed to grasp exactly what was at the heart of Liverpool’s stance on the Luis Suárez incident. Those who have spoken out about it and defended the club or the player have been branded as racist and that has been fuelled in a large part by the comments made by Ouseley, Powar and a number of other anti-discrimination campaigners.

What they are all unable – or unwilling – to grasp is that people who were defending Suárez were not condoning racism. Read more

No need for Liverpool to match Ferguson's letter to his side's fans

A LETTER from Alex Ferguson to Manchester United supporters urging they behave at Anfield on Saturday has nothing to do with the recent Patrice Evra incident last October. Suggestions from some that Liverpool should now follow suit are either ill-advised, lazy or an attempt to stir up a bit more trouble.

When Manchester United played at Anfield last season in Liverpool’s 3-1 win the behaviour of the visiting supporters led to the Ground Safety Advisory group recommending a cut in allocation for their next visit. The group compared behaviour by away supporters at a different Anfield fixtures with that of the visit from the Old Trafford side and felt there were safety issues in the way the Manchester United fans conducted themselves.

As a result of this the group recommended the visitors have their allocation cut from 3,015 to 1,965, primarily as an attempt to deal with the issue of the blocking of gangways. The Group said:
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