Former Manchester United defender Viv Andersen has backed Patrice Evra to overcome any verbal abuse he may face on his return to Anfield this weekend, saying the Frenchman is strong enough to ride out the anticipated fury.

Much has been said ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth round clash between Liverpool and Manchester United, with the inevitable race row story once again making the headlines.

Evra accused Reds striker Luis Suarez of racially abusing him during their Barclays Premier League clash back in October, an allegation that has since resulted in an eight-game FA ban for the Uruguayan international.

Suarez will miss this weekend's encounter, while Evra is expected to play, and Anderson - who became England's first black international player, sees no reason why Sir Alex Ferguson shouldn't include him in his match-day squad.

"Patrice should definitely play, 100 per cent," he is quoted by Sky Sports. "There will be a backlash, but he did nothing wrong, so why should he not play?

"He is experienced enough and old enough to deal with it. It won't be the first time he's been verbally attacked. If you cannot deal with it, then you are never going to make a career for yourself."

History has told us that when these two clubs meet it always makes for a highly charged atmosphere, and both Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish have made personal pleas to their respective sets of fans to let the on the pitch action write the headlines.

Regardless of the anticipated hostile atmosphere, Anderson says that Evra's proven ability to stand up to 'outside pressures' will stand him in good stead ahead of the tie.

"Patrice is at Manchester United playing in the Premier League and is a French international," he explained. "He has proved he is able to stand up to all the outside pressures that have been heaped on him as he's built his career.

"It is not right you have to put up with racial abuse, but I am sure it has happened to him in the past. I don't think playing at Anfield after what has gone on will bother him.

"There will always be something else around the corner, and if you keep worrying about something then you will fold and disappear."

Topics:
Football
Manchester United
Patrice Evra
FA Cup