Rodgers predicts peaceful occasion as emotions run high

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects this weekend’s emotional clash with Manchester United to be remembered for the right reasons on and off the field.

Rodgers predicts peaceful occasion as emotions run high

The Barclays Premier League encounter at Anfield on Sunday will be Liverpool’s first home match since the publication of a damning new report into the Hillsborough disaster.

A number of tributes are being planned prior to the game to commemorate the 1989 tragedy, remember the 96 victims and acknowledge the fight of their families to find the truth over its cause.

Since the report there have also been widespread appeals to fans of all clubs to cease tasteless chanting about tragedies to have befallen their rivals.

United have been at the forefront of those calls and it is hoped chants relating to Hillsborough, or the Munich air disaster which badly affected the Old Trafford club, will never be heard again.

Rodgers said: “We want this day to be remembered for the right reasons before the game, and the footballing reasons.

“A lot of work has been done and hopefully Sunday will pass off peacefully and well and we can talk about the tributes and football. These are well-educated supporters who value humanity. I have no issues or no problems there, the message has been clear, and from Sir Alex as well, in relation to his supporters.

“I am sure once we pay the tributes to the families we can get on with the football.”

One side issue to have recurred is the race row between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra which overshadowed Liverpool’s campaign last season.

The Premier League’s pre-match handshake ritual has been under scrutiny for other reasons of late, but Rodgers is not expecting any more issues on Sunday.

He said: “I think enough has been said and written about that over the last year.

“This has been ongoing and everything to say about this has been said. There is nothing else I can add other than you just move on.

“I said when I first came in here, it was an episode that just went right through last season. It is a new season. We look at both sets of players to respect it.

A mosaic will be displayed by fans around three sides of the ground prior to the game, while 96 balloons will be released by captains Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic among other tributes.

Kenny Dalglish, manager at the time of the disaster, will to return to Anfield for the first time since his second spell in charge ended last May.

Dalglish posted on Twitter last night: “Really looking forward to being. Other clubs have shown fantastic support to the families. Now it’s time to show ours.”

Rodgers said: “There is no doubt there is a big emotion throughout.

“Liverpool-Manchester United games are always very emotional. You add to that the findings of the last couple of weeks and it makes it even more emotional.”

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