Manchester United manager David Moyes has called on fans of both clubs to behave ahead of tomorrow’s powderkeg encounter with old rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
Tensions are usually high on such occasions, and Moyes’ return to Anfield, after 11 years as manager of Everton, will make the atmosphere even more fevered than usual. Yet there has been a deeper twist, with Liverpool having to apologise for a comment posted on its Twitter feed last night which seemed to endorse a suggested pre-match play-list from a fan that poked fun at the 1958 Munich air crash.
This in turn has led to calls for retribution from some United supporters, including the minute’s applause planned in honour of one of Liverpool’s greatest managers, Bill Shankly, to mark what would have been his 100th birthday. However, Moyes has stressed no-one should be allowed to wreck what remains one of the stand-out games of the domestic football calendar.
“This doesn’t need anybody else to get involved,” he said. “It is a great game of football, with two fantastic football clubs. If anybody from Liverpool or Manchester United stepped out of line they shouldn’t. It is important people watch this game for the football and nothing else. All I can say is I am looking forward to going. It will be a great occasion. Hopefully everyone conducts themselves in the right manner.”
Indeed Moyes is attempting to follow Shankly into the pantheon of great Scottish managers, which includes the man he replaced at Old Trafford this summer. “Sir Matt (Busby), Bill Shankly, Jock Stein, Sir Alex (Ferguson),” said Moyes. “It seems like they were all from the same place. Bill is in that group from the point of view that he’s one of the greatest managers and rightly should be respected.”
Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao said yesterday they had rejected an offer from Manchester United for midfielder Ander Herrera. Bilbao club president Josu Urrutia said: “We have received an official offer from Manchester United (but) we don’t have the goal of making money through the sale of our players.”