Published on September 22nd, 2012 | by connorhamand1
Preview – Liverpool vs Manchester United
It’s been dubbed as one of the biggest games in world football. The El Clásico of English football as it were. It’s never disappointed in terms of excitement and drama, that’s for sure. Last season, for example, the Evra vs Suarez saga reached it’s dramatic climax at Old Trafford, as both decided against shaking one another’s hand, with United winning the game 2-1 thanks to a Wayne Rooney brace.
Times have changed since then; United are now second best in our own city, let alone the country. Things are very similar for Liverpool, however, with their own local rivals Everton finishing above them in 2011-12. Both United and Liverpool couldn’t be more different in terms of personnel with Fabio Borini and Nuri Sahin both making the move to Merseyside. Of course, United have done their fair share in the transfer market as we all know, with Shinji Kagawa and a certain high flying Dutchman joining in the summer.
It’s a fixture that’s never short of controversy but even Liverpool playing Manchester United has never threatened to shake the walls of English football quite like tomorrow’s game. Very rarely has the talk before a football match focused on anything but the game itself but that seems to be the wholehearted case here.
It’s understandably been an emotional couple of weeks for Liverpool as the verdict of the Hillsborough investigation proved that Liverpool fans weren’t to blame for the disaster. All eyes were on Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, as United took on Wigan, to see how fans would behave. It was inevitable but anti-Liverpool chanting occured, whether it was directed at the Hillsborough disaster or not is unproven and probably always will be.
Whilst it is unlikely that it was totally innocent, it was incredibly poor timing from the small number of fans that began the chants, either way. I for one just hope that the ridiculous, evidence less claims of many English journalists do not overshadow what is sure to be an incredible game of football.
Liverpool have started the season in relatively poor fashion with no wins in their first four league games. They have already welcomed the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal to Anfield, securing just a point from both games. They did impress on Thursday night, however, beating Young Boys 5-3 away in Switzerland.
One would be forgiven for thinking that Manchester United could be in for an easy ride at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. It will be anything but. The visit of Manchester United is Liverpool’s biggest game of the season. Liverpool treat it like a cup final and have a knack of always performing too.
It will come as no surprise then, that Manchester United have failed to win at Anfield since 2007-08, where a Carlos Tevez goal helped us on our way to a league and Champions League double.
With a near clean bill of health, United look as strong as ever. Darren Fletcher and Wayne Rooney look like they’re fast approaching full fitness, and Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa look to have have recovered after starting in midweek’s Champions League opener against Galatasaray. It was a flat performance all round with only Kagawa, Carrick and De Gea really looking like diamonds in the rough. Van Persie looked isolated, Valencia and Nani looked bright until it came to their final product and the defence once again looked shaky and capable of a mistake at any given minute. No doubt that Sir Alex will be looking for a response in Merseyside tomorrow, which he should get.
In recent seasons, Fergie’s starting eleven has become harder to predict than Manchester City’s next signing but tomorrow’s should be pretty straight forward. Our strongest side is not only wanted but needed if we are to go away with all three points. Here is my preferred starting eleven.
Onto my prediction for the game. Going off our record at Anfield in recent years, there’s not much reason to be optimistic about what is sure to be one of the toughest away games of the season. However, the fact that Liverpool will be incredibly emotional tomorrow afternoon could work in our favour.
I can see it being very similar to the Manchester derby of 2008 where the two clubs met on the 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster. United were very clearly distracted that day, and took their eyes off the ball, giving Sven-Göran Eriksson’s men the win. We can only hope that that’ll be the case tomorrow.
Overall, I think it’s going to be an extremely tough game for United, as it always is, but I think that our firepower up front can win us the game. Therefore, I am going for a 2-1 win for United, with goals from Robin van Persie and Antonio Valencia.
About the Author
connorhamand Hi, my name’s Connor and I live in Manchester. I try to get to most home games and the odd away trip. I’ll be writing match previews throughout the season, including Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup games, among other things. Hope you all enjoy.
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