Disclaimer: Due to the nature of the rivalry I am throwing stats out the window (there won’t be many in this article). Also, there WILL be banter.
It’s time, once again to renew the rivalry that is Liverpool and Manchester United. Let the banter flow! Earlier in the season the mancs managed to stir the smoldering ashes of the rivalry and spark a bit of a flame by drawing 1-1 at home. I mean seriously, going into that match I couldn’t have cared less about them. They were sinking into the depths of mediocracy, and I don’t think anyone viewed them as a threat. Liverpool go in and play their worst match of the season and draw. United’s fans see that as a huge victory. They are the only team to take points from us this year. They gained a point and we lost two. That last sentence actually made me feel really good! Because that is the state of current affairs for both teams. For us, the only positive result comes in multiples of 3 points. For them, finding a way to make this weekend’s match relevant, is a win in itself.
So now that they are coming into Klopp’s unbezwingbare festung this weekend to try to once again “derail” our season, let’s take a look at how they’ll attempt it. Last time out they went to the garage and found Jose’s bus and parked it from the start. Playing a 3 (5) at the back gave them numbers on the defensive line. I expect them to do more of the same this time out. I really hope their recent victory over Wolves and Norwich will give them some measure of confidence going into Sunday. Why? Because bringing confidence to Anfield is bringing a knife to a gunfight. It really doesn’t matter where the match is held when it comes to teams opening up and trying to out play Liverpool. Leicester have been our most recent victims, getting thrashed in their own house 4-0. I do see Ole as a smart man and I believe he is smart enough to sit back and attempt to congest our final third. The only problem with that is our boys have been able to figure out every defense this season in a 90 minute span. Wan-Bissaka had the match of his life against Raheem Sterling in their win over City earlier in the season and I believe he will absolutely have to repeat that effort if they are to have any chance. The recent injury to Rashford will definitely hurt their attempt to play the counter attack. While Daniel James is pacey and has a bit of quality to his game, Virgil and whoever else is back there, will have no problems knocking him off the ball due to the size differences. I believe their ability to get a result greatly depends on Rashford’s fitness. If he does not play then I don’t see them getting a result. If he plays injured I think their chances go even farther down. If they can’t effectively play the counter then they will have to attack as a team and the last thing they want is a wide open match.
On to our beloved Redmen! This time last year they were holding onto a slight lead and beginning to look a bit lethargic in the league. This year has been a bit different in the chemistry of the team has gone through the roof. Our front 3 are scoring less and look happier than ever. Our “industrious” and “bland” midfield has been exciting and precise. Despite all the injuries at center back, our back line have been sound, carrying a “next man up” mentality. This time last year began a string of draws that ultimately lost the league. In those draws, the boys would give up late equalizers and struggled to finish games out. This year they are not scoring every goal they can, but scoring every goal they have to. I can’t explain it and I don’t really care to even analyze it. I’m just happy its happening and I’m grateful to experience it. Having said all that, I believe Klopp will have them lined up to attack at their center backs and central midfielders not with offense, but with our famous pressing. Offensively, I can see Jordan Henderson playing a key role in feeding Firmino to link up with Sadio and Mo. Speaking of Mo, he has said in an interview that the only reason we drew with united was because he was injured. I am looking to him to keep their left flank under pressure all game. I believe the Skipper, Bobby, and Mo are all going to have huge games this Sunday. Hopefully manUre will try to open it up and likewise get opened up. Liverpool 3, the other team nil. Now, for some of my favs from the interwebs…