Suarez & Evra set for pre-match handshake

Liverpool and Manchester United are confident Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will shake hands before Sunday’s Premier League match at Anfield.

Officials from both clubs have been in talks as they finalise plans to mark the release of the Hillsborough report.

But any fears of a possible flashpoint regarding Evra and Suarez, who was banned for eight matches for racially abusing the United defender last season, appear to have been allayed, with both clubs stressing the need for all players to respect the occasion.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already said his club will support Liverpool in “every way” they can.

“It is our first home game and the clubs have been working very hard to commemorate the work which has gone on with all the families,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said on Wednesday.

There will be a number of tributes on Sunday.

Captains Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic will release 96 balloons shortly before kick-off in memory of those who died in the 1989 tragedy.

There will also be several crowd mosaics:

  • “The Truth” will be displayed on the Kop
  • “Justice” on the Lower Centenary Stand
  • “96” on the Anfield Road end

“It is going to be a very emotional day,” Ferguson said. “We will support them in every way we can. We are supportive of Liverpool.”

United have already criticised a section of their supporters who took part in anti-Liverpool taunts during Saturday’s fixture against Wigan.

The chants at Old Trafford, which included the words “it’s never your fault, always the victims”, were first sung in the immediate aftermath of the Suarez-Evra racism incident.

The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have since rejected suggestions the chants were referencing Hillsborough.

But Ferguson said United chief executive David Gill had been upset by the incident.

“I didn’t hear it on Saturday, but others did, particularly in the directors’ box. David Gill was disappointed,” said the Scot.

“It is a new chant that only started after the Suarez situation. It is a minority. But in society there is a minority wanting to be heard.”

The recent Hillsborough report cleared Liverpool fans of blame for the deaths of 96 supporters during an FA Cup semi-final tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.

“We understand what those families must have felt when they got that report,” added Ferguson, whose side play a Champions League group game against Galatasaray on Wednesday.

United will wear black armbands during the match in honour of the two policewomen, PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes, who were killed while on duty in the Greater Manchester area on Tuesday.

“We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two young policewomen protecting our community,” said Ferguson.

“Fiona and Nicola were highly valued members of Greater Manchester Police and the local community. Our thoughts and prayers are now with their families and friends at this devastatingly sad time.”

Liverpool are also involved in European action this week. They play Young Boys in a Europa League group match on Thursday.