Jose Mourinho has implored supporters of both Manchester United and Liverpool not to overshadow Monday’s meeting at Anfield with disrespectful behaviour.
The two clubs issued a joint statement on Thursday in which they stated any supporter involved in discrimination in the stands would be ejected from the stadium, with further criminal sanctions also possible.
Recent fixtures between the two have been marred by unsavoury references to the Munich and Hillsborough tragedies, and United boss Mourinho has said he will be upset if there is a repeat of those type of incidents in the latest instalment of the two teams’ rivalry.
“In football we have some football tragedies, if you can say that, which is a big match that you lost, the mistake that some player did, this kind of thing, and you can make fun of it in a positive way,” the Portuguese said.
“But the human tragedy is something much more serious. It’s the last thing somebody should use in a football pitch because they were really big tragedies, not to forget but to respect. I will be really sad in such a big football match if that was a negative point.”
This league fixture between the two giants of English football was decided by a Wayne Rooney goal last year as his 78th-minute strike gave United a fourth straight success over the Reds in the division.
It was the striker’s fifth goal in four January games, yet Mourinho’s captain will return to his native Merseyside nine months on not on the back of a similar run of form, but after an international break in which he was dropped by England.
Gareth Southgate left his skipper out of the starting lineup in Slovenia, just three days after he was booed by his own fans at Wembley, yet Rooney’s club boss has no qualms about his mentality prior to the Liverpool clash.
“England’s not my problem,” Mourinho said. “[His mental state] It’s good, he’s prepared. He’s training well, he’s positive.”