FA won't relish replay - Ferguson

27 January 2012 11:16

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted the Football Association might be hoping Manchester United's powderkeg FA Cup fourth-round tie with Liverpool on Saturday is settled at the first attempt.

A massive security operation has been put in place for the Anfield encounter, which will be the first time the north-west rivals have met since Patrice Evra made his racism allegations against Luis Suarez.

And the United boss accepts the prospect of an Old Trafford replay, which would take place just days before the two sides are due to meet in the Premier League, and for which Suarez would be available, is probably not too appealing for the game's authorities, saying: "It could be a replay. That would get the FA going."

Although Liverpool's immediate reactions in the wake of the guilty verdict that led to Suarez being banned for eight matches left United distinctly unimpressed, the Merseyside giants have now switched their stance completely and warned supporters any racist abuse will not be tolerated.

Ferguson has followed that up by pleading with supporters and players to ensure the occasion is remembered only for the quality of the football.

The long history of animosity between the supporters even extended to an FA Youth Cup tie at Anfield last season and with over 5,000 fans in attendance, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a section of United's travelling contingent will look to inflame the situation.

Ferguson has stayed clear of the entire row since his initial confirmation that United would back Evra in whatever action he chose to take. However, the Scot feels now is the time to try and ensure all the talk is about the game, rather than the obvious issues surrounding it.

"It is a massive game for both clubs," he said. "There is a tremendous profile on it and there will be interest throughout the country.

"As Steven Gerrard said yesterday [Thursday], there is a responsibility on the players to behave properly. That is what I expect my players to do.

"Both sets of fans have got to make sure we are talking about the game and nothing else."

Source: PA

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