Gerrard calls for end of 'sick' chants from Manchester United & Liverpool fans

Sunday's clash is the first game at Anfield since the release of the Hillsborough Report and the Reds' skipper, who lost a cousin in the tragedy, has echoed requests for respect
Steven Gerrard has called for "human decency" to rule at Anfield when Liverpool host Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, demanding that the "sick" chants from both sets of fans are stopped.

The game represents the Reds' first at home since the Hillsborough Independent Panel's Report was published, with Gerrard and United captain Nemanja Vidic set to lead a tribute to the victims of the tragedy by releasing 96 balloons into the air.

Sickening chants about the 1989 disaster, the Heysel tragedy four years earlier and the Munich Air Disaster have marred the clubs' rivalry and Gerrard, whose cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was one of those who died at Hillsborough, is hoping for a respectful atmosphere.

"I'm hoping human decency breaks out," he told The Daily Mail. "It's a great opportunity for both sets of fans to put the sick chants to bed.

"This is the perfect chance to send a message to all supporters around the world who may be singing about the wrong things.

"If it's a fantastic match, and there's no vile chanting during it, it will be a great advert to everyone watching. This is more important than football.

"Munich and Hillsborough are not the only two disasters to have happened. There are all different kinds of chants, including racist ones, that need to stop. And if two big clubs send out the right message that it has no place in football, then everyone else will take note."

The 32-year-old also revealed that he had no intention of looking into the report's findings due to the grief it holds for his family.

"I'm delighted that people around the world now know how the tragedy came about, but I don't want to read it myself," he said. "It is difficult for my family and all the families.

"Every time Hillsborough comes up in a conversation or I see it in the paper or TV, you automatically think about Jon-Paul, the other victims and the disaster itself.

"It could have happened to anyone, any Liverpool fan. I was a year younger than Jon-Paul and I'd stood on the Kop many times when it was still terraced."

Another issue surrounding the match is the simmering tension between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, after the Uruguayan's race charge last season. After snubbing a handshake at Old Trafford last term, Suarez has been advised by Gerrard to return the Frenchman's pleasantries this time around.

"My advice to him will be to shake hands and move on," the midfielder insisted. "Those two players could be the key. That's going to be at the beginning of the game, the handshake, and they've got a responsibility to start the day off on a good note.

"Liverpool players and Manchester United players are not all of a sudden going to start liking each other, that's fine. These rivalries make the Premier League the best in the world. It is why we all love football. That can't stop but there is a line you can't go over."

Gerrard also discussed the match itself, and is hoping that Liverpool can get their season underway in earnest with a win over their rivals after two draws and a defeat so far this term.

"It's a great opportunity for us to win our first game in the league and kickstart the season," said Gerrard.

"We've been inconsistent in the opening four games. We were fantastic against Manchester City and Sunderland and very disappointing against West Bromwich and Arsenal. If we were to take the points, it would give us the confidence we need."