Liverpool defender Glen Johnson reignited the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra handshake row on Thursday by accusing the Manchester United player of engineering the dispute.
Forward Suarez, banned for eight matches for racially abusing Evra in October, refused to shake the Frenchman’s hand before Liverpool’s Premier League encounter with United last month. He subsequently apologised after widespread condemnation.
Left back Evra had extended his hand to the Uruguayan who ignored it and carried on walking but England right back Johnson questioned whether the United defender had made a genuine attempt to shake hands in the first place.
“Evra was clever at Old Trafford,” Johnson told the Daily Mail newspaper.
“Because - I’m not being funny - but if I wanted to shake your hand I would stick it right out in front of me. But if my hand is down, almost by my side, then it’s because I really don’t want to shake your hand.”
Johnson added Evra had “probably stayed up all night thinking about how to do that”.
“Luis didn’t shake his hand because Evra’s hand was down there. What else is Luis supposed to do? Would you go to shake someone’s hand if their hand is way down there by their side? (Of) course not,” he said.
“But then, because Luis didn’t do it, Evra has pulled him back by his arm as he walked on, as if to say to everybody: ’Look, I wanted to shake his hand and he didn’t’.”
Johnson’s comments come several weeks after English soccer’s two most successful clubs and bitter rivals sought to draw a line under the initial row with United accepting Liverpool’s apologies.