Rio Ferdinand responds to claim he ‘clocked’ Dirk Kuyt in Man Utd vs Liverpool scrap

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Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand has responded after being accused of throwing a punch at Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt during the sides’ infamous tunnel bust-up at Old Trafford in February 2012. Both sets of players were involved in scuffles at the interval and after the final whistle as tensions were raised by Luis Suarez’s refusal to shake Patrice Evra’s hand before kick-off.

The match was the first occasion Evra and Suarez had gone head-to-head following the racism row which followed the sides’ 1-1 draw at Anfield the previous autumn.

Suarez had been charged for his remarks to Evra during that clash and was handed an eight-match ban.

The Uruguay international had returned to the Liverpool line-up by the time the teams met again and was flanked by wingers Kuyt and Stewart Downing as he led the line.

Suarez found the back of the net 10 minutes before the end but couldn’t prevent United running out 2-1 winners.

“Obviously we go in the tunnel and it kicks off,” former England international Downing told the Under the Cosh podcast on Tuesday.

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“I don’t know if it was sort of planned because when we got there I think Vidic, [who] wasn’t in the team, was already in the tunnel.

“If you’ve been to Old Trafford it’s a big tunnel and then goes into a little tiny bit and then it was just kicking off.

“You see [Wayne] Rooney running down. Rooney was at the back and I was thinking, ‘I’m definitely at the back here.’

“Rooney was going in the back and he was like, ‘look what’s going on.’ I was sort of [thinking] keep him out the way because he might throw one. I think he was trying to break it up.

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“Obviously Rio and [Nemanja] Vidic made a scene of it and then big Pepe [Reina] got involved.

“I’m sure Rio clocked Dirk Kuyt on the cheek. It was one of them when he wasn’t looking he’s clocked him and he was like, ‘I’m going to kill him.’ Dirk lost his head.”

The video of Downing’s revelation was posted to Instagram by threesixtytv, before Ferdinand had his say by adding a tongue-in-cheek response.

“I swear I don’t even remember banging Dirk….I beg the FA don’t watch this coz they’ll charge me,” Ferdinand wrote.

Ferdinand’s comment has already received hundreds of likes, with some fans replying underneath by posting a string of laughing face emojis.

United went on to miss out on the Premier League title on goal difference that season after Sergio Aguero’s injury-time winner for Manchester City against QPR in the final game of the season saw the trophy making its way across Manchester to the blue half for the first time in the club’s history.

Liverpool, meanwhile, finished the season in eighth place after winning just 14 games all season.

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