MOYES CALLS FOR CALM
Manchester United manager David Moyes has called on fans of both clubs to behave ahead of Sunday'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 an even 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."
Moyes himself seemed to view beating Liverpool as a priority during his Everton days.
Yet he never managed it at Anfield, yet another negative statistic thrown at the 50-year-old - not that he has paid it any attention in the build-up.
"I have never thought of it," he said.
"I go there and manage a team. It is a different team. It is Manchester United and not Everton.
"I was proud to go with Everton and I will be extremely proud to go there with Manchester United. But it doesn't change how I feel and it won't change how I do my job."
With no new faces brought into Old Trafford this week and Phil Jones set to recover from the blow to his back sustained in Monday's draw against Chelsea, Moyes could stick with the same starting line-up.
That would mean Wayne Rooney continuing to operate just behind Robin van Persie now his short-term future at Old Trafford is secure.
Rooney was one of the better performers on view earlier this week and, against a club he has never regarded with any affection, the 27-year-old is in good shape.
"Wayne Rooney has been a great player for many years for Manchester United," said Moyes.
"He was an up and coming great player as a young boy at Everton and his career has gone the way that people expected it to go.
"I felt he played very well the other night. He's looking in good condition and is mentally in good shape too.
"We'll do everything we possibly can to keep that going."
As Moyes pointed out, Sunday is the latest in what seems like a never-ending sequence of landmark occasions for him.
But he accepts it is one to relish.
"Anfield has always been a difficult place to go," he said.
"It's a great stadium. I've been there not just for the football but for Hillsborough situations and different occasions and I'm looking forward to going back.
"Everyone tells me Liverpool and United is a big rivalry but part of coming to Manchester United is to be involved in these type of games."