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Liverpool midfielder was forced to apologise to Sir Alex Ferguson after angry exchange

Liverpool vs Manchester United is always a fixture that brings out the most intense emotions for everyone involved.

Sometimes that can be used for good. Whether it be a player channelling the occasion to produce a star match-winning performance, or scoring a dramatic late winner.

However, there can be times when emotions go a little overboard. That was what happened on this day in 2012.

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Ten years ago. Liverpool faced their bitter rivals at Anfield in the Premier League. It was Brendan Rodgers’ first taste of the fixture since taking charge a few months’ earlier, and it was certainly a memorable one.

Despite a Steven Gerrard strike putting Liverpool in front, it would not be enough. Goals from Rafael and Robin van Persie would secure the victory for Man United, and hand the Reds a bitter pill to swallow.

But it was an incident in the game and the aftermath which is what most people remember that match for. It involves former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and then-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

In the 39th minute, Shelvey slid into a tackle with Man United defender Jonny Evans. Referee Mark Halsey handed out a red card to the Liverpool midfielder, which certainly did not please the Reds youngster, who was only 20 years old at the time.

As Shelvey walked off the pitch after being given his marching orders, he would point the finger, quite literally, in the direction of Ferguson. The youngster would then have some words with the United boss, as he walked back to the dressing room.

"A win's a win, so we've got to be pleased with the result, but not the performance”, Ferguson said after the match.

"I don't think Shelvey went for the ball. The boy's gone in really dangerously and I don't think there's any other decision the referee could have given.

“He was trying to blame me, I suppose. Once he looks at it he can apologise if he likes."

It was not an assessment that Rodgers agreed with. The Liverpool boss felt that, with Shelvey being sent off, the same should have applied to Evans.

"If Jonjo gets sent off then Jonny Evans has to be sent off as well,” said Rodgers.

"It was a tackle that both players had to go for but the Liverpool player can't be sent off and the Manchester United player stay on.

"It was very, very harsh and that's how it was throughout the game. There were a number of poor decisions that cost us."

Ferguson wanted Shelvey to say sorry, and the Liverpool midfielder would eventually oblige. The first public apology, of sorts, came from Twitter. Although, one was deleted soon afterwards.

"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," he wrote.

"I have also apologised to Sir Alex, just where I come from people don't grass people up to get someone sent off."

Years later Shelvey would admit that he showed his inexperience and lack of maturity with his handling of his red card.

“I was a bit immature then and a bit silly. I pulled him aside afterwards and apologised to him and he was spot on with me,” Shelvey said in 2015.

“He said, ‘no I like it. It shows you’ve got a bit of balls about you’.

“I got a few high fives around town for the next few months, but it was silly from me on the professional stage. You don’t do something like that.

“I was young and I was starting for Liverpool against Manchester United, games don’t come much bigger.

"Growing up, I always thought the FA favoured United and things like that.

"I looked over when I got sent off and saw Fergie in the fourth official's ear. I don't think the ref was going to send me off at first because it wasn't a sending off.

"I put a picture downstairs and it shows Jonny Evans going two-footed and me just coming in from the side. It wasn't a sending off but it is what it is. I saw him looking over at the fourth official so as I was walking off the pitch, I just said, 'It's your fault I got sent off'.

"As soon as I got sent off, I got in the changing room and rang my Dad and he said, 'It wasn't a sending off, mate. Don't worry. What did you say to Fergie?' I told him what I said and my Dad's gone, 'Good boy!'

"I've seen him a lot of times since and it's just one of them things that happens in football. You live and you learn."

With Liverpool down to 10 men at half time, it would get more difficult for the Reds after the interval. Fabio Borini would need to be replaced having suffered an injury, and then it would get worse.

Martin Kelly would suffer a serious knee injury, which would end up ruling him out of action for more than a year. Liverpool would end up finishing the match with just nine men, as they lost to their bitter rivals at home for the first time in five years.

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