David Moyes returns to his old stomping ground of Merseyside today for a fixture which guarantees passion and fireworks from the outset. While a gap (chasm) has emerged between the two most successful teams in the country in terms of quality, the rivalry has not diminished.
Last season, United did the double over the Scousers with two 2-1 victories. A controversial fixture away from home saw Jonjo Shelvey sent off in the first-half before goals from Rafael and Robin van Persie secured a win. Sir Alex Ferguson triumphed over Brendan Rodgers again at Old Trafford thanks to goals from van Persie and Nemanja Vidic.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have begun this season strongly having maintained a 100% winning record in their opening two fixtures, noticeably better than their sluggish start last year. Liverpool have looked good under Rodgers with the squad looking settled and adapted to an easy-on-the-eye style of football when it works.
United have also started well under Moyes but he has never tasted victory at Anfield so it is going to be a daunting day for the Scot. After securing silverware in his first game in charge, winning impressively in a ruthless performance away at Swansea before holding Chelsea to a 0-0, Moyes has coped very well at the start of his tenure but a win away at Anfield will make it the perfect beginning.
Liverpool endured a nightmare midweek game against Notts County in the Capital One Cup where they needed extra-time to see off the League One outfit. Kolo Toure left the pitch on a stretcher and is unlikely to be fit while Aly Cissokho and Joe Allen are doubts. Sebastian Coates remains a long-term injury victim and it is unknown what impact 120 minutes of action will have on the likes of Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson.
United are close to full strength. Ashley Young is fit after returning from injury against Chelsea while Luis Nani, Jonny Evans and Javier Hernandez are also nearing full fitness.
But Wayne Rooney, who was impressive on Monday night, is a doubt after sustaining a head injury in training that saw him get stitches in his head. Shinji Kagawa could deputise in the ‘number 10’ role.
Games between United and Liverpool are extremely intense affairs and are often decided by a single goal margin. It’ll be interesting to see if/how Moyes changes things for big away games as United under Ferguson often packed the midfield on visits to Anfield. It’ll be a cauldron like atmosphere but with a hugely experienced squad, I’d expect United to continue their solid start to the season.
Prediction: Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United.
What do you think the result will be?