As Liverpool and Manchester United prepare for yet another heavyweight showdown at Old Trafford, Kenny Dalglish has insisted that all involved should concentrate solely on footballing matters.
Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez will go head to head for the first time since their previous head to head led to an eight-match ban for the Liverpool hitman.
Old Trafford will be nothing short than a boiling cauldron attached to a very short fuse, and with the eyes of the football world focussed on the encounter it is essential that professionalism and respect is maintained at all times.
Suarez, who made his comeback against Tottenham at Anfield last Monday is sure to receive a hostile reception at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney added fuel to the fire after tweeting that he felt El Pistolero should have been sent off for his tackle on Scott Parker during that game.
With the grand football tradition between the two most successful clubs in England, it is hoped that one the blue paper is lit then football will take over. Fans and neutrals expect nothing less from professionals who are paid king’s ransoms as wages.
Dalglish has also stated that Suarez will shake Evra’s hand, along with the rest of his teammates.
Liverpool are buoyed by their dramatic FA Cup win, whilst the Red Devils showed their mettle after clawing back a three goal deficit to share
The spoils at Stamford Bridge last Sunday. Though the draw against rivals Chelsea was an awesome statement of intent, the fact that Chelsea netted three before a reaction from United will weigh heavily on the minds of the Anfield coaching staff.
Tom Cleverley is set for a return to the first team and this will be the young schemer’s first outing since October.
Sir Alex said at his Friday press conference: "Tom's training well. We were disappointed the Chelsea Reserves game was called off on Monday.
"The plan was for him to stay over with us [after last Sunday's first-team game at Stamford Bridge] and play in the game on the Monday. That was called off. But he's trained very well and he'll be involved tomorrow."
Paul Pogba may get to sit on the bench but the game is too soon for Nani. Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher and Michael Owen remain on the treatment table, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling could miss out again due to injury.
Sir Alex added: "There’s not much change on the injury front for us.
"I think Smalling could be available, but all the rest is as it was last Sunday.
"Phil Jones got a knock against Manchester City, which he never quite recovered from. He'll be fit for next week. He'll be fit for the Ajax game."
Speaking to liverpoolfc.tv Kenny Dalglish said: "Everyone involved, including the media, the supporters and both teams have a responsibility to ensure this weekend is remembered as a cracking game of football between two very good sides, rather than for anything else.
"I thought everyone involved in the FA Cup tie at Anfield played their part in making sure that the match was played in the right way, so let's make sure that happens again this weekend."
A handshake must end this. It’s time for football to make the headlines again.
- Steven Gerrard has netted three goals in his last three Old Trafford visits.
- Liverpool’s highest Old Trafford score is a 5-2 win in 1936.
- In 1936, Fred Howe became the last Liverpool player to score a hat trick at Old Trafford.
- 16 goals have been scored in the last four meetings.
- 27 goals have been fired in during the last eight league games.
- A home win would take United back to the top of the table for the first time since October.
- Steven Gerrard’s goal in the earlier league fixture at Anfield was the 1,200th Liverpool goal in the Premier League.
- Both teams have shared one goalless draw in 39 Premier League games.
- There have been winners in the last 11 fixtures between the two giants - United have won seven and Liverpool four.
- Kenny Dalglish’s managerial record for this clash reads: won four, lost three, drawn seven.
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