Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Liverpool clash: 'There is a responsibility on the players to behave'

Much of the pre-match talk has surrounded Patrice Evra following his race row with Luis Suarez but the Scot believes the players will be able to influence the fans to behave well

Sir Alex Ferguson has called for the players to take responsibility for the atmosphere inside Anfield when Manchester United meet Liverpool in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The game is the first meeting between the two since Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing United's Patrice Evra, giving the game a potentially unsavoury edge.

Despite the potentially volatile reception waiting for United and Evra, Ferguson is adamant he is only focussed on the match and echoes Steven Gerrard's belief that the players must ensure thing don't get out of hand.

Ferguson told reporters: "It's a massive game for both clubs. There's a tremendous profile on it. There will be interest throughout the country.

"As Steven Gerrard said yesterday, there is a responsibility on the players to behave properly. That is what I expect my players to do, and also the fans.

"Both sets of fans have got to make sure we are talking about the game and nothing else. It can be that way because there are a lot of good players on the pitch.

"It is a big game and at the end of the day we want to talk about a game of football.

"You just have to concentrate on the game. We have to try and play our game – that helps. Both sets of players have to be aware of that. I'm confident there won't be problems."

Ferguson also suggested he may be facing a selection headache ahead of the game, with several members of his first-team squad doubtful for the fourth round tie.

Rio Ferdinand missed their win last weekend over Arsenal with a back problem while Phil Jones, Nani and Wayne Rooney all picked up knocks at the Emirates.

Sir Alex continued: "Hopefully we'll have two or three training this morning and we'll be better by tomorrow. It is not the best situation for us."

"It's a big FA Cup tie – there's no doubt about it, in my time there haven't been many cup ties between the clubs. It's one to look forward to and I think the players will follow that."