Liverpool v Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson's letter to away fans

Sir Alex Ferguson has written a letter to Manchester United supporters attending Sunday's game at Liverpool to ask that the rivalry between the sides does not cross into "personal hatred".

The fixture will be Liverpool's first home game since the findings of an independent panel investigating the Hillsborough disaster were published.

"The rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United has become almost unique in its intensity since the Premier League's balance of power shifted from Merseyside along the M62 in the early 1990s"

The United boss's letter will be handed to away fans as they enter Anfield.

In it he states: "Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool."

Ferguson and numerous United supporters' groups have released statements over the last week, condemning chants referring to the Hillsborough disaster.

United will take an increased contingent to Anfield compared to the same fixture last year, when they were handed a reduced allocation following complaints of fans blocking aisles.

The letter in full

"Dear Supporter,

"The great support you gave the team here last season has seen our allocation back up to near-full levels. I want you to continue that progress today.

"But today is about much more than not blocking gangways. Today is about thinking hard about what makes United the best club in the world.

"Our rivalry with Liverpool is based on a determination to come out on top - a wish to see us crowned the best against a team that held that honour for so long.

"It cannot and should never be based on personal hatred. Just ten days ago, we heard the terrible, damning truth about the deaths of 96 fans who went to watch their team try and reach the FA Cup final and never came back.

"What happened to them should wake the conscience of everyone connected with the game.

"Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice. I know I can count on you to stand with us in the best traditions of the best fans in the game.

"Yours sincerely, Sir Alex Ferguson."