I have posted this over at SB Nation's Man U site, The Busby Babe. I am reposting it here as I feel it will make for interesting conversation over here as well from a different perspective. That said, please keep the thoughts rational and composed. I don't want to see any flame spraying and other disparaging remarks. If you go over there to comment, please act in a similar manner.
It is an interesting question that is being much debated around the UK radios right now. This could go any number of ways. For Evra, it is naive to think that he won't be the subject of boos and potential abuse (hopefully not racial). The real question Fergie has is, can Evra handle it and could the team cope with the rash of injuries that seem to suddenly have hit without him?
In the long run, it might be best for Fergie to sit Evra. It isn't right that a player might be intimidated off the pitch, but in reality, such is life. It doesn't make it right, but it may be the best way to diffuse an otherwise volatile situation. It would be a shame to see this have a huge effect on what should be a good game. The fact that Suarez isn't playing may make things better or worse. It will alleviate some of the tension on the pitch, but may heighten it in the Kop.
Many Liverpool fans don't believe Evra, or believe that he misinterpreted or exaggerated the conversation. Instead of blaming the FA for its conclusions, it seems many of them have taken to hating Evra and United. It isn't as if the report said Evra's account was correct, because it didn't. It did say that his account was the more likely of the two. I don't like it or agree with the fans blaming Evra as Suarez clearly put himself in this situation, but there are idiot fans in every corner. Another such act could be disastrous not just for Liverpool, but for English football as well.
There is further fuel to the fire for the Liverpool players wearing of the Suarez shirts. While I believe this was more a sign of the players supporting Suarez rather than a statement directed towards Evra, it is another contentious act in this drama. Much like the Terry Bridge affair, it is likely that Evra wouldn't want to be on the pitch with these same players who, in some people's eyes, took a stab at him and his credibility by wearing those shirts.
If this incident hadn't happened and Fergie had left Evra out, no one would have batted an eye. It would have just been assumed that Evra needed rest and FA Cup glory is second to winning the league in the eyes of Fergie. Fergie has also done this before, holding Rooney out of games against Everton or when he was in the public eye like back in September of 2010. He also kept him on the bench (although he did bring him on eventually) for the first clash at Anfield while he was dealing with his Euro red card.
So, what will he do? There is a lot of things to think about with this. Is it best for all parties involved for Evra to be rested for this game? Certainly if the game was at Old Trafford this would be a non-story. Feel free to share your thoughts. If Fergie sits Evra, should Liverpool return the favor during the trip to Old Trafford when Suarez will be back?
As for the Liverpool fans out there who might read this (especially those who might attend the game), please don't to anything to discredit our fan base. Please keep the chants directed towards Rooney's hair and away from Evra. It will go along way to repairing our image in the public's eye.