Luis Suarez
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is serving an eight-game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra. REUTERS

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has called on Kenny Dalglish and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to put an end to the current hostile atmosphere between the two clubs in the wake of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra case.

Animosity between the two sides has escalated since Suarez was handed an eight-match ban for racially abusing the Manchester United captain during Liverpool's 1-1 at Anfield in October.

And with Liverpool having been drawn against Manchester United at Anfield in the FA Cup fourth round later this month, Hansen believes the time has come for both managers to draw a line under the events of recent weeks.

"The basic principle for Liverpool has always been to ensure that football matters take precedence over everything else. That has not been the case recently and it is important to get back to football," Hansen told the Telegraph.

"No club enjoys adverse publicity and the coming weeks building up to the fourth round tie will be challenging for Liverpool and [Manchester] United. But for the game to pass by trouble-free and for people to remember it for the right reasons, two big clubs must prove themselves to be as big as their reputations."

Although Hansen cautioned that the historical rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United will have been heightened by the outcome of the Suarez-Evra case, the former Reds defender implored both sets of fans to be "respectful" and ensure the game is remembered "for what happens on the pitch".

"That rivalry will not go away. It has been there since time began, but the Suarez-Evra affair has taken it to new levels," the Match of the Day pundit said.

"Obviously, you cannot expect the supporters at Anfield to make things easy for Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez will be subjected to hostility when he plays at Old Trafford in the Premier League following his eight-match ban.

"I am certain that will be the view of both clubs and, certainly, from Liverpool's perspective, they will want the negative focus of recent weeks to be replaced by an attention to what is achieved on the pitch."