Liverpool legend John Barnes has defended Luis Suarez after his decision not to shake the hand of Patrice Evra prior to Saturday clash at Old Trafford.

After informing his club that he would be shaking the hand of Evra, Suarez's non-gesture sparked the start of a bad natured affair, which saw Manchester United run out 2-1 winners.

Manager Kenny Dalglish, who claimed to know nothing of the non-handshake in his post-match interview, managing director Ian Ayre and Suarez have all subsequently released apologies 24 hours after the incident.

But Barnes said: “I can tell you they won’t be making a big issue over either of the Suarez or John Terry situations in other countries.

“The reputation of English football around the world is not going to be damaged at all. I don’t care if somebody shakes my hand or not. It’s not a big deal, it’s insincere, it doesn’t mean much, they’re shaking hands for show. I don’t believe they should be put in that situation.

“We’re getting carried away with a bunch of incidents here that, in the bigger picture, don’t mean much. Football clubs have to react to it because of what we do in the media.”

“We’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” Barnes added.

"We are not the custodians of moral value in the world, we think we are but we’re not. There’s worse things happening in the world, worse things happening in the country, everything should not be laid at footballers’ doors.”

United have since accepted Liverpool's apology, with the hope that the two clubs can ease tensions before their next meeting next season.

Following the final whistle, Evra was seen celebrating around the pitch, appearing at one stage in Suarez's eyeline, an act that Sir Alex Ferguson later admitted was not the smartest move from the defender.

Barnes admits the Frenchman didn't cover himself in glory with his post-match acts.

“It’s a big shock, and obviously it got compounded by Patrice Evra at the end and Sir Alex Ferguson at the end," he said. "So it’s not a good day from a PR perspective for either club.

“I can’t imagine that this wasn’t discussed by Liverpool.

“If Luis Suarez said, ‘I’m not shaking his hand’, which he has every right to if he doesn’t want to, then Liverpool should have made all attempts not to have this situation whereby they have to come into confrontation with each other."

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