Captain calls for calm
Reds captain Nemanja Vidic has appealed to both United and Liverpool supporters to be on their best behaviour when the teams meet on Sunday.
The match is the first at Anfield since the recent publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s review of the disaster that claimed 96 Liverpool fans’ lives in 1989. The findings cleared Liverpool supporters of any wrongdoing and Vidic and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will mark the occasion with a show of solidarity by releasing 96 red balloons before kick-off.
Vidic, who grew up in a war-torn Yugoslavia, has pleaded for fans to show similar respect on Sunday and reminded supporters that “football is important, but it is never more important than life”.
“There is a lot of history with these two clubs,” Vidic told journalists following United’s Champions League victory on Wednesday night. “We have some history, some tragedies. They have as well.
“I think we should respect each other because we are big clubs who are respected around the world. We have to show an example, be on top of the bad situation and behave well.
“Football is important, but it is never more important than life,” he said. “After this game, everyone should be talking about the football, and that’s all. I hope that will be the case.”
Vidic also acknowledged the players’ role in helping to keep emotions in check on Sunday.
“It’s probably the biggest derby in the world and we have to show we are capable of keeping a good atmosphere and setting a good example. It’s important to not do any stupid things in the game, to go there and play football. It’s what we dream of – to play that derby and for it to be all about the football, not about the fighting or any other things.”