Michael Carrick has called for an atmosphere of respect when Manchester United visit Liverpool in the English Premier League on Sunday.
Carrick scored the only goal in United’s 1-0 Champions League win over Galatasaray on Wednesday, and has already turned his attention to the eagerly anticipated showdown with rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
The fixture was marred last season by a confrontation between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez, who was found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing the Manchester United fullback.
It is also the first meeting between the two bitterly opposed clubs since an independent panel exonerated Liverpool supporters of any wrongdoing at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 supporters died.
Sections of the clubs’ support have taunted one another in the past over Hillsborough and the 1958 Munich air disaster, which killed 23 people, including 11 United players and staff members.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and his United counterpart Alex Ferguson have this month called for an end to distasteful songs mocking the two tragedies.
Carrick told reporters: “Everyone has got a huge responsibility to respect the situation. Hopefully the football will be celebrated as it is one of the classic football games worldwide.
“These games are a one-off, form goes out of the window, the atmosphere is that little bit more special. We are expecting Liverpool to bring their best game and we’ll have to bring ours.
“To play in a game like that, they are the ones you remember. As a player you appreciate what it means to the fans.
“Anyone who’s been to one – at Old Trafford or Anfield – the atmosphere is a bit special and hopefully the game can live up to it.”
The midfielder also reflected on a rare goal – his first of the season – and what it meant to secure a positive start to another European campaign.
“I don’t get many (goals),” he said.
“People say (I should get more), but the position dictates that. You look at other defensive midfielders around Europe and they don’t necessarily score more goals.
“Of course in an ideal world I’d like to score more, but I’m not really around the box that much.
“We wanted to start well, give ourselves a good chance to win the game, we knew they were a good side. It’s just disappointing we didn’t kick on from there. Three points was huge for us today.
“It’s important to win our home games but it’s equally important to go away and try and win those games.”