Ian Ayre plays down Suarez and Evra handshake situation ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Manchester United

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has insisted that Sunday’s match against Manchester United should not focus on the handshake situation between Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez.

When the teams met in February, Luis Suarez’s refusal to shake the hand of Patrice Evra stole the headlines, but Ayre has stated that in light of the independent Hillsborough disaster verdict last week, the issue between the two players is not an issue he is concerned by.

“We will be doing a handshake as normal,” Ayre told talkSPORT. “As regards to the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra thing, I think it’s just a non-story for this day. Despite what the media says, nobody has gone and told Luis Suarez what to do.

“I think those players, like every other player on the pitch that day and everybody in the stadium, will recognise this isn’t a day to talk about who is going to shake whose hand. This is about everybody being together for a much more important cause.”

With Liverpool playing their first home game since the independent panel’s report into the 1989 stadium disaster, Ayre has called for the focus to be shifted towards fans who wish to pay their respect.

“It will be an emotional and big game for everybody,” Ayre continued. “Obviously this is our first home game since the announcement and findings, and it’s a great opportunity for our fans to pay their respects and in many ways for everybody to pay respect to our fans.

“As much as the families and everyone else fought for this, it goes without saying that our fans have stuck with them and helped with that support throughout, so it’s an important day for everyone.

“This is about using the stage to show the world how important this was and how important an announcement it was.

“It’s ironic really that it comes with our biggest game of the season so that is in some ways quite nice because the world will be watching.”

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