Liverpool v Man Utd preview
Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime welcome Manchester United to Anfield in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Last Updated: 27/01/12 11:10am
All associated with the forthcoming 90 minutes of football between Liverpool and Manchester United in the FA Cup on Saturday will hope the match does not continue to play a secondary role.
The fourth-round tie on Saturday lunchtime is likely to be more hostile than usual in the wake of the fall-out from Luis Suarez's eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.
Both clubs have tried to ease tensions in the build-up to kick-off and Merseyside Police have stressed they will take firm action against anyone guilty of inappropriate behaviour.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson have also pleaded for calm and sounded their wish for the match to avoid a place on the front pages of newspapers.
Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool go into the match on the back of Wednesday's thrilling Carling Cup semi-final aggregate success over United's derby rivals, Manchester City.
The victory booked Dalglish's men a return to Wembley for the first time since 1996, when, coincidentally, they lost the FA Cup final to United.
Sir Alex Ferguson's visitors will arrive at Anfield, where Liverpool have this season drawn eight games in all competitions, fresh from last Sunday's win at Arsenal.
United are strongly challenging City for the Premier League title, while they are also full of confidence after beating their derby rivals in a memorable third-round FA Cup game.
Liverpool defender Glen Johnson has insisted fatigue will not be an issue for his club and Dalglish could be tempted to name the same line-up which responded so brilliantly to his criticism in the wake of last weekend's humiliation at Bolton.
Suarez will serve the sixth game of his ban and will be absent, but it remains to be seen whether Wednesday's hero, Craig Bellamy, and his knees can stand up to three outings in a week.
Ferguson is to give the injured members of his squad as long as possible to prove their fitness, with the club currently nursing 11 men on the treatment table.
Rio Ferdinand (back) missed the win over Arsenal, while Phil Jones sustained an ankle problem at Emirates Stadium and Nani hobbled off in the late stages amid widespread reports he could be out for a month.
Former Everton striker Wayne Rooney has not trained all week and Michael Carrick is also carrying a knock.
Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young, ex-Liverpool star Michael Owen, Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidic remain absentees.