Gary Neville has sent a warning to Romelu Lukaku ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool on Saturday, noting that the Belgian still hasn’t proven himself against the big sides.
Lukaku has made a scintillating start to life at Manchester United this season, claiming 11 goals in his opening ten games.
But the striker’s record at Anfield does not mirror his recent ruthlessness in a red shirt: his last goal away to Liverpool came four and a half years ago, back when he was on loan at West Bromwich Albion.
And Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, made it clear that Lukaku still had to demonstrate his worth against the very best.
“Romelu Lukaku has settled in brilliantly and done everything he was asked to do in terms of converting those home draws into wins, but games like this one are the real test,” he said.
“When I look back to the Everton striker’s recent performances at Anfield he didn’t play well, so this is the next step up for him.
“Going away to Anfield is a big test and his service will be more limited so he’s now got to show the ruthless streak to win the big games for United.
“He will be defined by his performances in big matches. You’re at a club with aspirations of winning things and a world class striker will be defined by trophies and performances in big matches.”
Yes, the Belgian’s record at Anfield is poor. But that, I would argue, comes down less to his individual ability and more the seemingly never-ending curse that lingers over Everton whenever they make the short trip across Merseyside. They haven’t won there since 1999.
But he now has a chance to face Liverpool on a level playing field. He is no longer leading the line for some poor underdogs trying to avoid a battering and instead spearheading one of the fiercest attacks in Europe so far this season.