Alex Ferguson hoping Manchester United clash with Liverpool passes without incident

United manager believes Luis Suarez incident is behind both clubs

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson is crossing his fingers Manchester United's powderkeg Premier League encounter with Liverpool on Sunday passes off without incident.

It will be the first time United, who are being heavily linked with Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha, will have met their north-west rivals at Old Trafford since Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra's hand in last season's corresponding fixture.

However, the pair did make their peace at Anfield in September, which Ferguson is hopeful will be a sign of things to come.

"There will always be a certain build-up to a Manchester United-Liverpool game, simply because of the history between the two clubs, the two most successful in the country," Ferguson told Inside United.

"It brings its own agenda in terms of profile and pre-match discussion.

"Last year it was unfortunate with the Suarez behaviour.

"I think hopefully it is behind both clubs now and we can just look forward to the game."

Behind the scenes, it seems efforts to land Zaha are intensifying, with both Arsenal and Tottenham now said to be distancing themselves from the teenager, who is one of English football's hottest properties.

In addition to an apparent desire from Zaha to join the Old Trafford outfit, there is also the potential for him remaining with Palace on loan for the remainder of the season, as was the case when Sir Alex Ferguson signed Chris Smalling from Fulham in 2010.

If Zaha achieved anything like the success Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed with United, he will have a significant career.

And, as he prepares to face the former Red Devil when his side take on Real Madrid in the Champions League next month, Ferguson confirmed his belief that Ronaldo has improved since his exit for Spain in 2009.

"Maturity brings many things," said Ferguson.

"When I went to see them play against (Manchester) City, some of his decision making in terms of passing was brilliant. One-touch passing, good crosses.

"In the six years we had him, you just saw his game grow all the time, and he was a fantastic player.

"Now you see the complete player.

"His decision-making, his maturity, his experience, plus all the great skills he has got, they all make him the complete player."

PA

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