Sir Alex Ferguson warns Manchester United fans to behave at Anfield
Sir Alex Ferguson has urged Manchester United's supporters to behave themselves at Liverpool on Saturday - and ensure they back his team in the correct manner.
Improved behaviour by United fans at this season's Premier League clash between the north-west giants has led to a large increase in the percentage of their ticket allocation being released for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Anfield.
However, there are fears of problems as it will also be the first meeting between the teams since the race row exploded between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez that ended with the Liverpool striker being hit by a massive eight-match suspension.
In a letter to supporters who have tickets for the game, Ferguson makes no reference to Evra or Suarez, or the row he has continually stressed would have no impact on relations between the two clubs.
However, he has pleaded for "positive, witty and loud" support as his side attempt to reach the last 16.
"I wrote to fans attending the away match in October urging them to co-operate with stewards and officials at Liverpool so we can make a strong case for restoring our allocation for future United games at Anfield," said the letter from Ferguson.
"The fans did almost everything asked of them that day and as a result, we have a much improved allocation for this important FA Cup tie.
"Please do everything you can to continue that good work and protect next season's allocation by:
- Going to the seat that you've bought
- Not blocking aisles and gangways
- Respecting the stewards
- Following the ground regulations
"FA Cup ties are tense affairs at the best of times," he added. "Add in the fact that Manchester United against Liverpool is the biggest game around and it becomes even more so.
"Your support is vital to the team and down the years that has been especially true at Anfield.
"But please put the emphasis on getting us into the next round and giving the sort of support you are famous for - positive, witty and loud."
It had previously been suggested peace talks would take place between Liverpool and United officials over the bad blood that was spilled during the Evra-Suarez row.
Ferguson claimed he did not see the need for that and though there have been discussions, it is believed they centred around the game itself and were no more significant than they would be for any other match between the two clubs in recent years.
When the teams last met in the FA Cup at Anfield, in February 2006, there were widespread claims of mistreatment by the United fans, which it is hoped a massive police and stewarding presence will avoid on this occasion.
The visitors lost that time as well, and their hopes of victory this time around will not be helped by the injuries Nani and Phil Jones suffered at Arsenal on Sunday, although there have been suggestions the latter man's ankle knock, which Ferguson suggested could keep him out for a number of weeks, might not be as serious as first suggested.