LIverpool targeting racism
Liverpool are hoping to get back on side with fans in the wake of the Luis Suarez racism row. REUTERS

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has called on the club to work with Manchester United to ensure that their FA Cup tie is a positive affair, despite controversy engulfing the sides' relationship off the pitch.

After United defeated Manchester City 3-2 in the FA Cup on Sunday, the club were immediately drawn to play Liverpool in the next round, and the match looks set to be particularly sour for both clubs in the wake of controversy over the Reds' handling of the Luis Suarez racism case.

But Ayre believes that if the clubs can keep up a dialogue and work together before the game, they can ensure that nothing untoward takes place on the pitch.

"I think there were definitely a few raised eyebrows from everyone after that draw," he said.

"Liverpool - Man United is probably the best fixture in the world and the FA Cup is one of the best competitions in the world, so it's a great matchup.

"With all that's gone on, people will talk about it and talk about it but I think the most important thing for us is to make sure that we make it a great day and a great game.

"We need to make sure that we all work together to make sure that everybody concentrates on the excitement of the football and the FA Cup and not on anything else. We are certainly committed to that."

After Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra, Liverpool put out press releases from both the club and the players insisting Luis Suarez was not guilty of any wrong doing.

The club also argued that Patrice Evra wasn't a credible witness, which was refuted in the FA's notes on the case, and wore t-shirts in support of Suarez despite the striker eventually deciding not to appeal the ban.

With racism a more difficult issue than ever in football, Liverpool have moved to insist that they are committed to fighting against discrimination of all forms on the pitch, even though they offered support to Suarez.

And Ayre believes that the club need to show they're committed to the cause of stopping racism in sport, particularly in the wake of fans reportedly being caught yelling racist chants at opposition players.

"We think it is important, with what went on at the game on Friday and what's gone on over the last few months, to just reiterate the club's stance, generally, on racism and on any form of discrimination," he said.

"We have been very outspoken and very involved in this type of issue in the past and we have some fantastic people who work every day on those types of programs."

Manchester United have remained quiet through the entire racism affair, with Sir Alex Ferguson making a point of doing the club's talking on the pitch rather than off it. And it seems to be working for the Red Devils, with the side currently pushing for first place in the Premier League table while Liverpool are outside the top four.