Liverpool and Manchester United issue warning to fans

    Jurgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into early contenders for the Premier League title this season.

    Story highlights

    • Liverpool hosts Manchester United Monday
    • Clubs issue warning ahead of Premier League clash
    • Both teams in the hunt for league title

    (CNN)Few football matches can claim to draw a bigger audience.

    An estimated 700 million people -- nearly 10% of the world's population -- in over 200 countries are expected to tune in when Liverpool hosts Manchester United in the Premier League Monday.
      But the lucky 54,000 fans attending the match at Anfield have been warned to be on their best behavior.
      Unsavory songs by both sets of fans have been sung about tragedies in the clubs' pasts, Liverpool's Hillsborough disaster and Manchester United's air crash.
      Last season, before the two sides met in the Europa League, a banner that read "murderers" -- in reference to the Heysel tragedy involving Liverpool -- was hung above a major road leading into Manchester.
      "If any supporters are found to be engaged in any form of offensive or discriminatory behavior by stewards or via CCTV then they will be immediately removed from the stadium, risk arrest, prosecution and be reported in accordance with the club's ground regulations," said a joint statement released by both clubs.
      "This is an unrivaled fixture in the Premier League calendar and we thank all fans for their continued support in this important area of the game."
      At Friday's pre-match media conferences, United manager Jose Mourinho admitted he would be "sad" if he heard offensive chants from either set of supporters.
      "In football we have some football tragedies," the Portuguese told reporters. "Which is a big match that you lost, the mistake that some player did, this kind of thing and you can make fun of it in a positive way.
      "But the human tragedy is something much more serious. It's the last thing somebody should use in a football pitch because they were really big tragedies, not to forget but to respect.
      "I will be really sad in such a big football match if that was a negative point."

      Title chase

      Jurgen Klopp and Mourinho are two of the Premier League's most charismatic managers, yet the demeanor of both men could scarcely have been more different in recent weeks.
      While Klopp exudes an infectious -- sometimes caricature-like -- enthusiasm about the Liverpool project he started just over a year ago, Mourinho has often cast a somber figure on the touchline and in the media room.
      Their individual moods have been seemingly extrapolated onto the teams they put on the pitch.
      Klopp's favored style of gengenpressing, the high-octane art of never letting your opponent rest on the ball, requires enthusiasm and the desire to never stop harrying -- even when your lungs are burning.
      Mourinho's United, on the other hand, has often been accused of plodding around during matches, a criticism supported by the statistic no other team has covered less ground in the Premier League this season.
      Not accustomed to being the underdogs, Mourinho and his side will be just that when they arrive at Anfield.
      "Being Manchester United manager means something more because we cannot compare the historical rivalry between my previous club (Chelsea) and Liverpool and Manchester United and Liverpool," Mourinho said.
      "It's just a big match that can be comparable to Inter vs. Milan to Madrid vs. Barcelona, maybe Porto vs. Benfica -- this I like."
      Just 30 miles away from Mourinho's press conference at United's Carrington training complex, Klopp was simultaneously talking up the magnitude of Monday's fixture.
      "The whole world will watch Liverpool-Man Utd," he said. "As long as I live this will never be just a normal game. It's up to us to perform at our best."

      Momentum derailed

      A month ago, however, Mourinho may have been leading his side out as favorite.
      After three wins from its opening three games, United was second favorite for the league title, before defeat to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City derailed its momentum.
      Liverpool, conversely, was considered an outside bet for the Premier League title but has seen its odds slashed by many British bookmakers after four consecutive wins, a run that saw Klopp pick up the Premier League's September Manager of the Month award.
      The Reds are now ranked second favorites behind Guardiola's City.
      A conceivable defeat to Klopp's in-form side could leave United six points behind its great rival and eight behind league leader Manchester City.
      The German, for one, believes it is "too early" to talk about winning the league but, while not an insurmountable margin, it would begin to raise serious doubts about Mourinho's title credentials, even at this stage of the season.