LONDON, England, January 9 – Liverpool will face bitter rivals Manchester United in a home FA Cup fourth round tie that will be played against the backdrop of Luis Suarez’s ban for racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra.
Uruguay striker Suarez is set to miss the match as he is currently serving an eight-game ban for abusing Evra during a 1-1 Premier League draw at Anfield in October — a ruling that sparked a furious reaction from Liverpool.
The tie at Anfield will be the first match between the two clubs since that controversial clash and offers Liverpool the chance for revenge after United knocked them out of the competition last season.
“Liverpool away…what a tie! Great game for the #FaCup + our fans! Let’s av iiiiiit! Roll on the 4th round,” United’s Rio Ferdinand wrote on Twitter.
United’s former Liverpool striker Michael Owen added: “And people talk about United always getting lucky cup draws!!!
“Couldn’t get much tougher. What a game to look forward to,” said Owen, hours after United knocked Cup holders Manchester City out with a 3-2 win at their cross-town foes Eastlands ground on Sunday.
Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam tweeted: “Great draw man united a home that’s the FA cup.”
Another potential flashpoint could come if Queens Park Rangers beat Milton Keynes Dons, with the victors at home to Chelsea, 4-0 winners over Portsmouth on Sunday, in the fourth round.
Chelsea and England captain John Terry is facing criminal charges for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
Sunderland’s reward for a 2-0 win away to Peterborough on Sunday was a home draw in a north-east derby with Championship promotion-chasers Middlesbrough.
“It’s a tough one but we’re at home,” said Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill.
West Bromwich Albion were drawn at home to Norwich while another all Premier League tie pitted Everton against Fulham.
Arsenal will be at home to Aston Villa if they beat Leeds at the Emirates on Monday — a match where striker Thierry Henry could make his ‘second debut’ for the Gunners.
And another possible all-top flight clash could see Bolton at home to Swansea if they see off Macclesfield after a 2-2 draw against the fourth-tier club at Moss Rose on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Premier League high-flyers Tottenham Hotspur have a short trip to Championship strugglers Watford while Stoke, last season’s losing finalists, are away to another second division club in Derby.
Newcastle’s reward for beating Premier League rivals Blackburn is a fourth round tie away to the winners of the third round replay between Championship Brighton and non-league Wrexham.
And whoever wins the third round replay between Premier League Midlaands rivals Birmingham and Wolves can look forward to a tie at Sheffield United.
4th rd draw
Brighton and Hove Albion or Wrexham v Newcastle United
Sunderland v Middlesbrough
Dagenham and Redbridge or Millwall v Southampton
Hull v Crawley
Milton Keynes Dons or Queens Park Rangers v Chelsea
West Bromwich Albion v Norwich
Blackpool v Sheffield Wednesday
Arsenal or Leeds v Aston Villa
Stevenage v Notts County
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool v Manchester United
Derby County v Stoke City
Everton v Fulham
Macclesfield Town or Bolton Wanderers v Swansea City
Sheffield United v Birmingham City or Wolverhampton Wanderers
Nottingham Forest or Leicester City v Swindon Town
Ties to be played on the weekend of Jan 28-29