A MAN WHO IS MORE CONTROVERSIAL THAN A RICHARD DAWKINS TWEET
So to Old Trafford then, where Manchester United take on Liverpool in a tie that has the potential to be the spiciest third-round Tin Pot Cup encounter since Weird Uncle Fiver bumped into his ex at Grimsby v Ipswich in 1985.
You see, after being collectively Jan Vertonghened by Manchester City on Sunday, United are licking their wounds. So it's a little unfortunate for them that a certain pesky Uruguayan is licking his lips – or "champing at the bit" as Brendan Rodgers honked on Monday. You see, having not played for Liverpool since his 10-match ban in April for chewing on Branislav Ivanovic's arm, lovely Luis Suárez is back. Oh yes.
And what a welcome return it is, having not really heard much from him over the summer – apart from those daily radio bulletins from Uruguay, that Big Paper interview, his Mr 15%'s regular warblings about a meaningless contract clause, the noise of a thousand toys clattering off the pavements surrounding Melwood where Suárez and his pram had to train alone until … finally, he said sorry.
And then throw in the previous beefs with Patrice Evra – for which he was banned for only the eight matches for using r@cially abusive language – and David Moyes – whose stone face he swallow-dived in front of after scoring in the Merseyside derby last season – and you could make a case that Suárez is more controversial than bedroom tax … or even a Richard Dawkins tweet. He is a man who is controversial even when he is not being in the slightest bit controversial. Such as when shopping. "Look! Look at him filling his trolley! At Tesco! My God! He's doing it himself!"
He's also a very good footballer. And Rodgers, who watched a shambling Liverpool display against Southampton at the weekend – arguably as pitiful as United's at City – is aware that without the injured Philippe Coutinho he needs one of those at the moment. "Luis is a tough character," he stated-the-obvioused. "He is resilient and one of the strongest-willed characters I have met in my life. I don't think he will bat an eyelid. He is a fighter … I have got no hesitation about playing Luis."
Meanwhile the Manchester United manager, Not Lord Ferg, is without Robin van Persie due to groin gah and had this heartwarming message for United fans fearful of a third defeat in a local derby in a month. "There will be days like we had on Sunday and there might be more of them because we are in a period where there will be transition," he sobbed. "I've taken the punches and I'm happy to do that. Not for a minute did I think this Manchester United job was going to be an easy job. It does mean I may have to take a few more blows, definitely. Maybe even more than that. Maybe all season I have to take a few blows but I knew this was going to be the case because I was taking over from a great manager and it was always going to take time for me to get my own ways and change things round a little bit."
Yes, Suárez has something to get his teeth into all right.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
10 September: "I never thought about getting rid of him. Even in losses I have given him my confidence. There were journalists who assumed I would sack him, but I have never thought about that" – Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini says he is not going to sack Gennaro Gattuso.
25 September: "It is with true and profound sadness that I announce the dismissal of Gennaro Gattuso as coach of the first team. The results have forced us to take this decision" – Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini sacks Gennaro Gattuso.
"The story about Juan Mata written entirely in song lyric style (yesterday's Fiver), coupled with the time of year, reminded me of the times when cabinet ministers (usually Tories) tried to incorporate songs, (usually by Gilbert and Sullivan) into their speeches: it seemed like a good idea at the time, was actually a wee bit clever, but was ultimately toe-curlingly awful to endure. Actually, that may apply to more than just one article in the Fiver …" – Stuart McLagan.
"To Peter Akinnusi, I am a pedant and probably one of 1,057 to tell you that the Bermuda Triangle is an undefined region and therefore not literally* a triangle (yesterday's Letters). It therefore, like Sunderland, doesn't have three points. *Other pedants should be aware that I am aware the definition of literally has changed, I wish to use the non-Jamie Redknapp meaning" – Jordan Glossop [and no others].
"How you tempt the pedants, Fiver! (yesterday's blazermania Bits and Bobs). You say that the FA will receive £56m of Wembley dosh, and blithely tell us that this will buy precisely 560,000 blazers at M&S. Sounds like £100 each. And yet, the Men's Sartorial Wool Rich Twill Blazer (product code T197963) is available online for only £99" – Mike Wilner.
"Re yesterday's letter from Stan Vassilev. Two 1,057th pedants? Clearly a Fiver-instigated paradox designed to STOP FOOTBALL. It doesn't seem to have worked though. Would it help if Luke Taylor and I fought a duel? There can be only one …" – Ed Herman (the other official 1,057th pedant).
• Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. Today's winner of our letter o' the day prize is Stuart McLagan, who gets a copy of the newly-updated paperback edition of I Am The Secret Footballer.
JOIN GUARDIAN SOULMATES
We keep trying to point out the utter futility of advertising an online dating service "for interesting people" in the Fiver to the naive folk who run Guardian Soulmates, but they weren't having any of it. So here you go – sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly romantics who would never dream of going out with you.
BITS AND BOBS
Gus Poyet is open to the idea of a second round of talks about taking the Sunderland job after some expert arm-twisting by the club's owner Ellis Short.
Robert Lewandowski has said he will join Bayern Munich next season. In January "I can officially sign a contract," beamed the Poland striker, gleefully rubbing a big heap of dung into the faces of everyone at Borussia Dortmund.
Theo Walcott has been ruled out for three weeks due to surgery on his abdominal-ouch. Lucky for Arsenal, they have hubris' Nicklas Bendtner primed to make a return.
And in other Arsenal news, the club have banned the BBC police drama By Any Means from using its official kit due to portraying their fans as idiotic, barely coherent, ne'er-do-wells. Honk!
STILL WANT MORE?
Nicklas Bendtner [look at his hair, just look at it! – Fiver Ed], a legend only in his own head, needs to start bothering the barndoor to succeed in his final chance at Arsenal, writes Paul Wilson.
"Just no!" is the general gist of page 39 stunnah Marina Hyde's take on Rio Ferdinand's plans for an Oscars-style football awards ceremony.
Hey kids! Ten memories from the third round of the League Cup in the 1980s, including Big Ron's last game at Manchester United before the Old Trafford boot connected with his rear.
And what have Joey Barton, Rio Ferdinand, Eric Cantona, Paolo Rossi, Paolo Di Canio and Duncan Ferguson all got in common? No it's not [Snip – Fiver lawyer] … they've all come back from bans. Here's a blog about how they got on.
There are still places available for the next of Big Paper/Website's "How to be a football journalist" masterclasses on 29 September. If you're interested in learning how to do minute-by-minute reports, match reports and other things that we call "work", you can sign up here.
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