LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Plans by Liverpool fans to give Manchester City’s team coach a fiery welcome to Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final have been shrugged off by midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and manager Pep Guardiola.
A Liverpool fan group has circulated on social media a call for fans to line the streets around Anfield: “Bring your flares and flags. Banners and bangers. Pints and pyros”, read the message which urged supporters to show City “exactly what money can’t buy”.
A similar “coach greeting” was created by Liverpool fans before the all-English semi-final with Chelsea in the Champions League in 2005, won by the Merseyside club.
Asked what he felt about the prospect of such a welcome, City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said: “I expect nothing less. I like to play at big stadiums and big crowds - it’s what it’s all about.
“I love the passion. There is a lot of passion in football and if you see the passion in the crowd you have to try to manage it,” added the Belgian.
City manager Pep Guardiola said he hoped the Liverpool fans would keep their welcome within limits.
“The people suggest what is going to happen, but we haven’t lived it yet,” said the former Barcelona coach.
“We are here and we have come to play a game, I hope everyone can be correct and polite and (it is) just a game, a sport, people cannot forget that,” he said.
Guardiola said he had experienced similar welcomes in Spain but felt the tight streets around Anfield might make things different.
“(In Spain) they had the police to spread out the people. The fans cannot be too much in front of you. Here the streets are narrow. We will see. Hopefully it’s going to go well and Liverpool fans can show their history speaks for itself.”
Juergen Klopp, Liverpool’s German manager, said he was happy with the planned show of strength from fans.
“It’s wonderful, it’s great, it shows everything, it shows the passion. As long as it happens in a legal way, I’m completely fine with it,” Klopp said.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by David Holmes