Monday, 23 September 2013

Manchester United vs Liverpool Preview

United are desperately needing to bounce back after a humbling weekend defeat versus Manchester City.  It made for frustrating and sore viewing.  Plenty of subsequent panicky reactions from United supporters have followed.  After a tough run of fixtures, an nice easy one was what was hoped for.  Unfortunately for United, they drew at team that pretty much always plays well against them in Liverpool.  The match on Wednesday has another edge to it, due to the return of a certain rat toothed striker Luis Suarez.  The script writers will have their pens poised, it is his first game back following his ban.  Liverpool fans are optimistic that he can have a similar impact as Eric Cantona did upon his own return from an even more lengthy ban.  Cantona, came on as a substitute in a League match at Old Trafford versus Liverpool.  He was hugely influential in the game, scoring the penalty to draw 2-2 it was a great result for United, who weren't at the races that day.  That season he went on to score the winning goal against them at Wembley to secure the FA Cup.  In his press conference, Rogers hilariously said that Suarez is "champing at the bit" to get back playing.  Fine choice of words there!  Laughter aside, he is a quality player and he'll be feeling confident having a go at a United defence that has been leaking goals.  There is something a bit personal for him when it comes to facing United too.  Liverpool fans are still angry with him over his behaviour and wanting out over the summer but that will very much be put aside if he plays a part in beating United.  Two want-away strikers vs another, who is going to come out on top?  You would certainly expect the pair to be hugely influential in the match and for their respective sides.  Rooney has been in excellent form and without wanting to jinx it, is looking a bit more like the Rooney of old. 
Liverpool have had a pretty decent start to the season. They are playing better football under Rogers, who has been allowed freedom to impart his style. They have already succeeded in beating United this season. Though better than United, they weren't overtly impressive and were gifted their goal from a Young mistake. Mignolet, a summer addition has been outstanding for them, he impressed in the game vs United and though Liverpool lost at the weekend it could have been heavier if not for his saves. They have also added Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto, Tiago Ilro, Mamadou Sakho and Iago Aspas. As well as those they also brought in Aly Cissokho and Victor Moses on loan. Their wins thus far, have all been narrow and they've relied more on their defensive abilities. They have been struggling to score and create chances. They will certainly be without Agger, Coutinho, Johnson and Cissokho.  Liverpool tend to play strong teams in the cups and Rogers does not seem to rotate his squad as much as other managers.  They do have a biggers squad at their disposal now after their many summer acquisitions.  They suffered heavily last season due to a lack of squad depth, particularly in the forward positions.  They are looking solid at the back and Mignolet has made a difference there.  I don't watch them week in or out and am not hugely familiar with their players.  Reading around, it sounds like Sturridge has looked tired in matches and fans believe he could maybe do with a rest.  Similarly Gerrard, who an older player now is not certain to play twice weekly.  Being their passionate captain and a local guy, it is the game he'd hate most to miss.  Many fans have picked Moses as a starter too.  Sterling is another who could very well play whom I did not include below.  Fans also believe it is more likely that Suarez will come on as a substitute instead of starting.  It is his first game club game of the season after all.  As mentioned, the United defence has been below par.  Rate Daniel Sturridge highly, with his pace, power and finishing ability he is certainly going to provide a threat.

Hoping that Moyes drops his over-cautious habits and makes a good number of changes.  It has always been an opportunity for young players, the League Cup so hoping to see some of them get an opportunity.  That it is against Liverpool and that Moyes will be feeling the pressure from the City game, I do fear that it will be quite a safe team he'll opt for.  It has been nonsensical playing an ageing and ailing Rio Ferdinand non-stop.  Hopefully he is given a bit of a rest here and as much as it pains to say so, he just hasn't been up to scratch recently.  It could be an opportunity to rest some other older players in that back four in Vidic and Evra.  Though, with an international break looming (which the two are unlikely to be involved) they will get a rest then.  Really hoping to see Evans make his first appearance of the season, missing him.  Feel the teams distribution from the back suffers when he isn't playing.  Rafael is declared fit again, following a hamstring injury.  He brings so much to the side and in games such as the ones against Liverpool he is regularly the standout player.  In the past it did overspill but the Brazilian has more fight and desire in him than the half of United's players put together.  The defence has looked weaker without him and the teams attack has suffered too.  Another, who will make a comeback (hopefully) is Nani, following his signing of a five year deal little has been seen of him since.  I'd have him ahead of both Young and Valencia without any hesitation.  With the team being so forward heavy it is difficult to get opportunities for all.  I would really love Hernandez to get a start upfront with Rooney.  Though, this game also provides a good opportunity to give Kagawa a game in behind Rooney.  Kagawa did not play so well vs Leverkusen but it is becoming a big fear that he won't be able to fulfil his vast potential at United.  In central midfield, options are one short with Felliain being cup tied.  Hoping to see Cleverley who made a good impact vs City.  Love to see Januzaj get a start but don't think it is likely.  His cameo's so far have been impressive to say the least and left you wanting to see more of him.  He has fantastic technique, composure and oozes class- there is a certain elegance to him and he has not looked out of place amongst the first team.  It would be a big lift for United fans to see him, even if it is another sub appearance.  Wilfried Zaha is another who hasn't featured too much and hopefully see him make an appearance.  Van Persie was a miss vs City but there isn't a need to rush him back for this.   

Can see it being quite a cagey affair.  It was a frustrating stop-start match against them last time.  Their players are very good at winding up and nibbling away at the opposition.  Did a good job of it, getting under the skin of the United players.  Am hoping that the players don't rise to it.  They are an energetic side too which is difficult to break down. They were defensive at home and expect much the same at Old Trafford.   They will be feeling full of confidence though, more confident than United I feel. They are unfortunate to be without key players in their defence.  Positive for United but it'll still take flair and pace from the attackers to create chances.  You don't need to do anything to get the Liverpool players and fans fired up from this.  They too lost at the weekend and it is the ideal game for them to bounce back in.  United themselves tend to respond well, but am pessimistic due to the performances against Liverpool in the past.  It is difficult to remember a match in which United actually played well against them.  I do hope that it is a positive and attacking side that United play.  A little fed up of watching slow build up play, hesitancy in possession, lack of flair and the team giving the ball away too easily.  Picks such as Cleverley, Carrick, Rafael, Evra, Nani, Kagawa, Jauzaj will all help in terms of possession, they are also all capable of quick one touch play.  With the side picked, it is very unlikely to actually play but with it think the movement, intelligence and pace of those involved could be very good on the eye.  Attack, attack, attack!  Which is probably the problem with it, it is just too attacking!  Need to see a bit of passion from the players, attitude was terrible at  the weekend- not like United at all.