Manchester: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has slammed Liverpool's Fernando Torres as a cheat, insisting that the striker "made a meal" of a challenge and tried to get John O'Shea sent off.
The game at Old Trafford saw Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov score a memorable hat-trick as his side earned a 3-2 victory over their arch rivals. The former Tottenham Hotspur forward became the first player in 64 years - since Stan Pearson's feat in 1946 - to score thrice for his club against the Merseysiders.
But en route to carving out a win, there was an incident when O'Shea felled Torres on the edge of the box that resulted in a free-kick, one that eventually saw skipper Steven Gerrard score his second of the afternoon.
The Irishman was only given a booking for his foul, but Ferguson believes the Spanish striker was looking for more than that from the off-the-ball incident.
"I’ve watched it again and I have to say Torres made a meal of it," Ferguson told reporters. "He made an absolute meal of it to get our player sent off."
The United boss' counterpart Roy Hodgson, however, took a calmer view on the situation, while insisting that the inevitable downfall of the Reds lay in their poor defending after levelling the score at 2-2.
"I prefer to talk about the game and talk about issues that interest me," he said. "Sir Alex is entitled to any opinion he wants to have but I'm not going to come here and say I agree or disagree.
"I thought the referee refereed the game very well and I have a very ambivalent attitude to those type of things.
"I am not a great lover of red cards for petty offences. Alex is a lot closer to it where he sits but my first thought when it happened was 'this is a foul' but I didn't think he should have been sent off.
"My staff around me jumped about saying he should have been sent off but I took a much calmer attitude towards it.
"As it turned out we got the goal anyway and that should have been the goal which got us a good and maybe deserved point.
"In my opinion it would be churlish to talk about whether a player should be sent off when really our downfall was due to the fact we should have defended much better for that third goal.
"Having got back to 2-2 we should have kept that."