Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has played down the hype surrounding his imminent meeting with Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan when the Reds play Sunderland tomorrow (Sunday).
During last year’s World Cup in South Africa, Suarez, playing for Uruguay, handled the ball on the line to deny Ghana a last minute of injury time winner. He was duly sent off, but Gyan – now a Sunderland player – missed the subsequent penalty.
Uruguay went on to progress to the semi-final stage after a penalty shoot-out victory.
But Suarez says there is no tension between him and the Black Cats striker.
“For me he will just be another player and someone playing for Sunderland,” Suarez told the Daily Mail.
“It is not about us. It is a game between Sunderland and Liverpool and my focus will be on doing my best for my new team.
“I live for the present and the future. Not the past.”
Likewise, Gyan is unfazed by the prospect of coming face to face with Suarez.
“I will shake his hand when I see him before the game on Sunday, because I am a good sportsman,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“People are waiting for something bad to happen or for me to be disrespectful towards him but I would never do that.
“We are not enemies, so I will definitely shake his hand, but there were a lot of tears at the time. A lot of grown men were crying on the pitch and in the dressing room. I shed tears on the field. You can go back and see the clip.
“At the time, when the whistle blew for the end of the game I was on the pitch crying. But Suarez didn’t come anywhere near me to try to say sorry or anything like that.
“Afterwards, I just told myself that I’d had a good World Cup and that I had to move on. I’m young. There are a lot of good things coming for me in the future.
“At the time, it did not seem that way. It was our big opportunity to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time. Not just for Ghana, but for Africa. It was our big moment.
“That’s why everyone was so downhearted. But the players are sportsmen. They know that they have to move on and accept it.”
Sunderland vs Liverpool gets underway at 1.30pm on Sunday, 20th March 2011.