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Gerrard, Ferguson congratulate fans

Steven Gerrard has praised both Liverpool and Manchester United fans for their respectful behaviour at Anfield on Sunday.

There were fears in the build-up to the clash that some sections of the crowd might react with inappropriate behaviour but there were few problems as United won 2-1.

The tributes to the 96 people who lost their lives, and the fresh revelations surrounding the Hillsborough disaster, were received with the respect that organisers had hoped.

Liverpool captain Gerrard told reporters: “There was a lot said about supporters on both sides behaving – and credit to them both, they were fantastic.”

The England international’s sentiments were echoed by United manager Alex Ferguson, who added: “Liverpool did a fantastic job, the fans were terrific and I don’t think there can be any complaint on that part.

“It was a nice touch Bobby Charlton giving the bouquet to Ian Rush and it demonstrates these two clubs can do things with unity.”

The atmosphere appeared to spark a performance from the Liverpool players, who outplayed the away side for the majority of the game, only to eventually finish the game empty-handed following an impressive strike by Rafael and a Robin van Persie penalty despite initially taking the lead through Gerrard.

Meanwhile, United left-back Patrice Evra has spoken of the relief in the Manchester United dressing room following the win, their first on Merseyside since 2007.

“It’s unbelievable,” Evra told MUTV.

“We’ve been coming here for four years (almost five years), a long time and I’ve not been seeing a dressing room like that with smiles on the faces after the game.

“I want to win against Liverpool. If I play badly or play well, I just want to win and that is what we did.”

The 31-year-old went on to speak of the difficulties surrounding the occasion at Anfield, which proved to be a hugely emotional one as the home side played their first match in front of their own fans since the revelations on the Hillsborough disaster were revealed.

Indeed Evra, who was at the centre of an Anfield race row following allegations that Luis Suarez racially abused the Frenchman during a fixture on Merseyside last season, believes his decision to shake the Uruguayan’s hand before the match was a fitting move to the atmosphere inside the ground.

“I think the most important word today was respect because it was a game between two big clubs that have both had big tragedies,” he said.

“That’s why, although a lot of people were talking about me shaking hands with Suarez, the story of the clubs is bigger than that.

“It’s why I think if I didn’t shake his hand, I didn’t respect the story of both clubs.”

Mon 24 September, 2012
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