Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish must end war, says Alan Hansen

Ferguson and Dalglish must end war between Manchester United and Liverpool, says Hansen

Alan Hansen has called for Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish to release a joint statement to ease tensions ahead of two potentially explosive meetings between Manchester United and Liverpool.

The giants of English football will meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup before clashing in the Premier League and the matches will come on the back of weeks of hostility over the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra affair.

Reds striker Suarez has been banned for eight games after being found guilty of racially abusing United defender Evra at Anfield in October.

Reds boss: Kenny Dalglish

Old Trafford chief: Sir Alex Ferguson

Responsibility: Kenny Dalglish (left) and Sir Alex Ferguson could make a difference if they join forces, says former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen

Liverpool boss Dalglish has been heavily criticised for his conduct in defending Suarez and having his players wear T-shirts supporting the Uruguayan before a recent game against Wigan.

The Reds suggested clearing the air towards the end of last week but United manager Ferguson dismissed the need for peace talks.

Hansen, however, is in no doubt that his fellow Scots need to take a stand.

The start: Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing and Patrice Evra (right) during the 1-1 draw between Liverpool and United at Anfield in October

The start: Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing and Patrice Evra (right) during the 1-1 draw between Liverpool and United at Anfield in October

The former Liverpool defender, in his column for the Daily Telegraph, said: 'The time has come for the negativity to stop with Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson needing to be at the forefront of moves to improve the relationship between the two clubs.

'When Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield later this month, it will be a huge game for the reputations of both clubs around the world and one which will demand that the leading figures at Anfield and Old Trafford rise above all the hostility of recent weeks.

'So clearly, the actions of, and relationship between, Kenny and Sir Alex, as respective managers will be absolutely crucial.

'A lot is often said about the supposed animosity between Kenny and Sir Alex. As managers of Liverpool and United, there is clearly rivalry there and, with both being such strong and single-minded characters, you would not expect anything else.

Suspended: Liverpool striker Suarez will miss the FA Cup tie against Manchester United but should be back for the Premier League game in February

Suspended: Liverpool striker Suarez will miss the FA Cup tie against Manchester United but should be back for the Premier League game in February

'But behind the bluster and unavoidable tensions that come with managing English football biggest rivals, the two of them get on much better than people think.

'What matters now is that there are no attempts at point-scoring by either club ahead of the Cup tie and the managers are central to that.

'Liverpool and United are the biggest two clubs in English football, they are globally recognised because of their history and tradition, but now is the time for them to prove it with their actions in the build-up to this game.

Plea: Alan Hansen wants Dalglish and Ferguson to act together before Manchester United and Liverpool meet in the FA Cup

Plea: Alan Hansen wants Dalglish and Ferguson to act together before Manchester United and Liverpool meet in the FA Cup

'That applies to those within the football clubs and also the supporters, who have a duty to ensure that the hostility does not descend into anything much worse.

'That is why I would like to see a joint statement from Anfield and Old Trafford, with both managers and clubs coming together to draw a line under what has gone on in recent weeks. When the game takes place, English football will be on trial and, automatically, so will Liverpool and Manchester United.'

Liverpool were drawn into a new row on Friday night when Oldham's Tom Adeyemi was allegedly racially abused by a home supporter at Anfield during an FA Cup tie. A 20-year-old from Aintree has been bailed.

And Hansen was caught up in a controversy of his own last month when he apologised for referring to black players as 'coloured' while working as a pundit on Match of the Day.