IT DOES not get bigger than a Liverpool vs Manchester United game in the English Premier League. Both sets of fans will be licking their lips in anticipation as Anfield plays host to English football’s biggest rivalry tomorrow.
Man United bounced back well from their FA Cup exit at the hands of Arsenal when they tore apart Tottenham 3-0 at Old Trafford last week and will certainly go into this game brimming with confidence.
But they face a tough task against a Liverpool side that has all the momentum and luck goin for them. Liverpool will also be motivated for revenge after taking a 3-0 beating at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
Liverpool have been impressive lately, especially in the 2-1 win against champions Man City, and have won their last five league games with two clean sheets in their last two games.
Louis van Gaal finally got his formation right last week with Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young finally showing their worth and Wayne Rooney playing where he is at his best — on top.
There was pace and attacking intensity in their play rarely seen this season as the Red Devils finally played like the team of old under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Fellaini received a standing ovation when he came off towards the end of the game and that is testament of how much he has improved this season. Juan Mata, in my opinion, should continue to be in the starting 11 and captain Wayne Rooney’s inspiring presence upfront will be enough to instil fear in the Liverpool defence.
As for team news, Jonny Evans is suspended while Robin van Persie is still out injured. The off-form Angel Di Maria will be available again after his one match suspension for his silly red card against the Gunners.
Liverpool have a lot of pace and creativity in the forward areas with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho all having the capability of unlocking a Man United defence that has looked shaky all season. The Scousers’ win over Swansea last Monday will have boosted their confidence, especially when they didn’t play well.
The game will no doubt be tense. There will be tackles coming in from everywhere. Reds fans will surely be winding up Rooney and Fellaini as well, who have former links with Merseyside rivals Everton. I am predicting goals in this game with honours shared at the end of the 90 minutes.
Elsewhere, defending champions Man City will be eager to bounce back after their Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona in midweek when they play host to WBA in today’s early kickoff.
This is a must-win game for City, especially after last week’s shock reverse at relegation candidates Burnley. The Citizens will be under pressure to perform with the knives out for manager Manuel Pellegrini who is odds on with the bookmakers to leave the Citizens at the end of the season. I expect Man City to respond with a thumping win.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal put on a brave effort after winning in Monaco in the Champions League but were still dumped out of the tournament, no thanks to their horror show at the Emirates in the first leg.
The team has been performing well and in Olivier Giroud, they have a striker who has been lethal up front lately.
Arsenal travel to Newcastle today having won five games in all competitions since losing to Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League tie and with Newcastle looking like a team who cannot wait for the season to end, expect Wenger’s boys to come back to London with all three points.
Leaders Chelsea will be eager to get back to winning ways after last week’s blip at Stamford Bridge against Southampton when they travel to Hull tomorrow.
The league title is theirs to lose and with no Cup commitments and having exited the Champions League, Jose Mourinho’s men will be playing without much pressure knowing that they have a healthy lead at the top with the added bonus of a match in hand. Expect Chelsea to just do enough and edge this game.
All eyes will be focused on Anfield tomorrow and I am sure everyone expects a tasty tie coupled with a lot of goals. Here’s to a pulsating encounter and a Devil of a Sunday. Enjoy your weekend dose of football.