Liverpool's allocation has been cut from 3,100 to 2,100
Manchester United have slashed Liverpool's allocation for next weekend's Premier League clash at Old Trafford by almost a third, the M.E.N. can reveal.

In what may be considered a tit-for-tat move Reds bosses have cut the number of tickets given to their Merseyside rivals for the Saturday showdown from 3,100 to 2,100.

United officials say the decision has been made for safety reasons after talks with the police and Trafford council and add that it will allow for extra stewards.

But many will see it as a direct response to Liverpool reducing the allocation given to the Reds' travelling support on their last two visits to Anfield.

Last October United were given 1,965 tickets instead of the usual 3,015.

Officials on Merseyside cited persistent standing and the blocking of aisles and gangways as the reason behind the move.

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Last weekend the Reds were handed 5,319 tickets for the FA Cup Fourth Round clash out of a potential 6,400.

Again segregation issues were raised as the reason for the reduction.

A United spokesman said: The safety of all fans is paramount and a detailed risk assessment of the match carried out by us and agreed by their Safety

Advisory Group which includes Greater Manchester Police and Trafford Council has resulted in Liverpool receiving a reduced allocation for this specific game.

This was considered necessary to allow for additional stewarding and segregation plans.

The reduction may add to what is already set to be a potentially explosive atmosphere.

Liver! pool str iker Luis Suarez, who was banned for eight matches after racially abusing United captain Patrice Evra, will be eligible to play and police will be on alert.

Evra was roundly booed by the home fans when the Reds lost 2-1 last Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson had written to United's travelling support before the game asking them to behave themselves.

Police praised the behaviour of both sets of supporters after the match, which saw 17 ejections and two arrests.

However, a 59-year-old Liverpool fan from North Wales was arrested later after video footage emerged of him making an apparent monkey gesture from his seat.

He remains on bail.

The match kicks off at 12.45pm and will be televised on Sky.

Liverpool are not expected to complain about the reduction.

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