Manchester United against Liverpool is one of English football’s titanic fixtures and there’s much more at stake ahead of the first duel of the season.
United are out of sorts, but winning and maintaining their pursuit of fourth place, whilst Liverpool can’t win or score under Brendan Rodgers right now. The Reds’ Champions League exit leaves their season in tatters and losing to their arch rivals would be too much agony for one week.
Despite the two sides being shadows of their former selves, neutrals are anticipating a blockbuster that both teams desperately need to win. Here are three reasons why this is the game of the season so far.
Neither team can defend
United were lucky to concede just once to Southampton in midweek as they tiptoed away with a lucky win, whilst Liverpool have had a shaky defence since the back end of last season. The trouble is with Liverpool is that they are struggling to score too, whereas United have Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. Both teams will undoubtedly want to win, which could lead to an all-out attacking style of play, plenty of goals, chances and drama. Liverpool will hope to have Mario Balotelli fit, who could repeat his ‘why always me’ celebration where it first happened.
Rodgers could be out of the door if Liverpool lose
He’s under an awful lot of pressure right now following the draw with Basel on Tuesday, and Rodgers might not be welcomed back to Melwood if the Reds are defeated. However, his players could rouse themselves for one big derby and try to save Rodgers’ job and give him more time with a victory. They will be feeling the pressure themselves too, and going into this game as underdogs could be beneficial to them, giving them the freedom to play in their own way. It has the feeling of an all or nothing encounter where someone will walk away having lost something massive.
Could be pivotal in race for fourth
With both sides on the same level vying for one position, United and Liverpool could view this as getting a leading contender out of the way. A United win kicks Liverpool back, whilst a Liverpool win could be the difference at the end of the season. Hopefully both sets of players think this way and give it everything for a pre-Christmas present. It could change either team’s season from this moment onwards.