Liverpool Focus - Rodgers prepares young squad for Old Trafford challenge
Two of the most successful clubs in English football will lock horns again this weekend as Brendan Rodgers prepares to take his inconsistent Liverpool side to face table-toppers Manchester United at fortress Old Trafford. This is not the first time that the former Swansea manager will be facing Sir Alex Ferguson – the two sides met at Anfield back in September, with the Red Devils collecting all three points on that occasion thanks to Robin van Persie’s winning goal. However, Rodgers will be hoping to get one over his opposite number for the first time in his career when one of the most anticipated clashes in the football calendar commences on Sunday.
Given the huge focus around this fixture and the immense rivalry which exists between these two sides, both sets of supporters encourage and expect a lively affair. In recent years, the players who have been involved in these battles have certainly lived up to the occasion and entertained the fans. This clash has only ever finished goalless on one occasion since the Premier League was born in 1992. Goals are almost guaranteed – especially with two of the in-form strikers in the top-flight set to face each other on the same pitch.
A number of Manchester United fans will be confident that their side will do what they have done in 17 of their 21 league fixtures so far this term and win the game. But Liverpool supporters too will be fairly confident that their side can pick up the points. The Anfield outfit have clinched victory in five of their last seven Premier League games. United may be sitting reasonably comfortably at the top of the table, but it would be a mistake to underestimate a Liverpool side who will visit Old Trafford following back-to-back wins and some confidence.
Liverpool have not beaten the Red Devils in their previous three attempts. The last time they did record a win was about 22 months ago, when Dirk Kuyt scored a memorable hat-trick at Anfield. Of course, the hard-working Dutchman is no longer a Liverpool player, however the Merseysiders do now have another right-sided striker available to try and fill Kuyt’s boots. Daniel Sturridge arrived from Chelsea last week and scored on his debut in the FA Cup win over Mansfield. A goal at Old Trafford would delight the visiting fans. A repeat of Kuyt’s heroics from two seasons ago would make him an immediate fans’ favourite.
Rodgers’ side were somewhat unfortunate not to take a point from the game at Anfield in September and United still have some defensive deficiencies which Liverpool will be looking to exploit. While an away win would not realistically help the visitors to catch up with their rivals in the table, it would give the Anfield side even more confidence ahead of their game against Norwich. Expect goals and expect to be entertained.
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