Gary Neville has lifted the lid on how he and Jamie Carragher argued as players during a game in 2010 – and admitted that he tried to “influence” the referee.
The two north-west rivals come face to face again this Sunday in one of the most eagerly-anticipated clashes of the season – you can read the thoughts of our Liverpool columnist Dave Tindall on the game right here.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the pundit and former Manchester United player discussed his experiences of playing against Liverpool, who United face in the Premier League on Sunday.
One particular instance in 2010 saw Neville and Carragher engage in an on-pitch argument after Javier Mascherano fouled Antonio Valencia to concede a penalty.
Wayne Rooney missed the subsequent spot-kick but scored from the rebound, with Ji-Sung Park going on to score the winner after Fernando Torres’ fifth-minute opener.
United players argued with referee Howard Webb that Mascherano should have been sent off when he fouled Valencia in the penalty area, leading to a confrontation between Neville and Carragher.
“I went straight to the referee because one of the big things in these games is if you can get someone sent off, you do it straight away,” Neville said.
“He [Carragher] knew what I was doing – and he would’ve done the same by the way. In those days, you would go to the referee, talk to him and say, ‘Are you going to make a decision?’
“Part of the big games is influencing the referee. You had to. Arsenal did it, Liverpool did it, we did it. Other clubs like Chelsea did it and I genuinely believe you could influence them.
“Not in a way that makes them a cheat or dishonest, no, but just that the pressure of being in Anfield or Old Trafford with that weight, it’s not easy.”