Michael Carrick wants focus on football when Manchester United meet Liverpool

Michael Carrick: Manchester United midfielder wants focus to be on football after clash with Liverpool on Sunday

Liverpool fans will pay tribute to victims of the Hillsborough disaster on Sunday

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Michael Carrick wants the focus to be on football when Manchester United travel to Anfield to tackle Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

It is the Merseyside giants' first home game since the recent report into the Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 supporters lost their lives, and the Reds are intending to mark the occasion in an appropriate manner.

Sir Alex Ferguson has already confirmed United will offer any assistance possible in ensuring the day passes off smoothly.

That is thought to include the Red Devils boss laying a wreath prior to kick-off, whilst it is expected that, despite last season's racism storm, Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez will shake hands.

However, as Ferguson pointed out on Tuesday, there are always some people "wanting to be heard", but, thankfully, there was no repeat of the anti-Liverpool songs at Old Trafford on Wednesday night during the Champions League victory over Galatasaray.

Everyone is aware that, in a rivalry as intense as the one that exists between England's two most successful sides, it will not take much for it to spill over as has occurred far too many times in the past.

"After what has gone on there is added responsibility on the players for everything to go smoothly," said Carrick.

"We will be doing our utmost to make sure that is the case.

"It is a heated game because it is a great football match. That is what should be celebrated really.

"It is a rivalry of two great clubs with great histories and traditions. It is what makes the game so special, a classic game worldwide.

"Hopefully it will be a cracking game of football because it is vital that after Sunday, everyone is talking about the football."