Gerrard plea to Suarez

  • Last Updated: September 23 2012, 8:17 BST

Steven Gerrard has advised Luis Suarez to get today's clash between Liverpool and Manchester United off to a suitably reconciliatory start by shaking hands with Patrice Evra.

Suarez and Evra: Urged to shake hands before kick-off

Liverpool striker Suarez was found guilty last December by an independent regulatory commission of racially abusing United defender Evra, and banned for eight games by the Football Association.

The Uruguayan attacker, who denied the charge against him, then refused to shake French defender Evra's hand when the teams played at Old Trafford in February.

Today sees the clubs meet in the Premier League at Anfield, in Liverpool's first home match since publication of the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The report absolved the club's supporters of any responsibility for the 1989 disaster, which claimed 96 lives, and criticised South Yorkshire Police.

It promises to be an emotional occasion after years of campaigning by Liverpool supporters for 'Justice for the 96'.

Parties including United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have urged supporters of the clubs, who share one of football's great rivalries, to behave, amid concern some of the cruel chants about the Hillsborough stadium tragedy and Munich air disaster which have surfaced in the past could feature again.

Liverpool captain Gerrard headed into the match hoping that Suarez and Evra would show that both sides can leave their previous differences in the past.

"I think those two players could be the key," Gerrard told the Observer.

"The handshake is at the beginning of the match and they've got a responsibility to start the day off on a good note.

"I will speak to Suarez and my advice will be to shake hands and move on. Suarez will make his own decision. Of course he will. But I'd like to think he would want to move on himself."

Gerrard made his own call for calm, saying: "I'm sure the Liverpool and Manchester United fans know what the right thing to do is. There's a big game of football and a lot at stake at the weekend. But this is more important than football, what we're talking about.

"We all love football because of these rivalries. That can't stop. But there's a line."