Jose Mourinho says he ‘always likes to play’ at Anfield but has implored supporters of both Manchester United and Liverpool not to overshadow Monday’s meeting.
The two clubs issued a joint statement on Thursday in which they stated any supporter involved in discrimination in the stands would be ejected from the stadium, with further criminal sanctions also possible.
Recent fixtures between the two have been marred by unsavoury references to the Munich and Hillsborough tragedies, and United boss Mourinho has stated he will be upset if there is a repeat of those type of incidents in the latest instalment of the two teams’ rivalry.
“In football we have some football tragedies, if you can say that, which is a big match that you lost, the mistake that some player did, this kind of thing, and you can make fun of it in a positive way,” the Portuguese said.
“But the human tragedy is something much more serious. It’s the last thing somebody should use in a football pitch because they were really big tragedies, not to forget but to respect. I will be really sad in such a big football match if that was a negative point.”
Mourinho moved on to more positive matters ahead of the season’s first meeting of the great rivals at Anfield.
“I always like to play at Anfield,” he said. “I have won big matches and lost big matches there, so I cannot say I like to go there as I am always successful as this is not true.
“I like to go there, I like the atmosphere and the characteristics of the matches. It is a big match that can be comparable to Inter v Milan and Real v Barcelona, maybe Porto v Benfica – this I like.”
The United boss has had a fractious relationship with Liverpool fans since his first stint at Chelsea, despite reportedly once putting himself forward for the manager’s job at Anfield.
Mourinho says it “does not make a difference” that he gets a feisty reception from home fans.
“I go there to play my game, do my work and enjoy my work,” he said. “I think the fans should also go to enjoy, support their team and create a bad atmosphere for the opposition, but in the limits of the safety and the respect. I think that is going to happen.”