Having lost to Chelsea on Tuesday, losing this game is unthinkable, the fact it is against Liverpool makes it even more important.
Losing two games in a row is a rarity for United but Liverpool will be hoping to add to our problems and a victory for them goes some way to slowing down our charge to league title #19 so they will be well up for it even if Kenny Dalglish has said that it isn’t Liverpool’s concern.
As Kenny Dalglish turned 60 on Friday, I’m hoping we can spoil his birthday celebrations but it will be no easy feat as Anfield isn’t a playground and the highly charged atmosphere will see a hotly contested battle between us and them in Sir Alex’s 950th top flight game.
Teams: Tuesday night was a bad result but what was equally damaging is the fact we had Vidic sent off in the final minutes. With Rio Ferdinand already out it leaves Chris Smalling to partner Wes Brown in the center of defence. Brown’s last appearance was a goal scoring outing against Crawley and I may be reaching here but Brown did score against Liverpool in 07/08 so fingers crossed! Evra is likely to continue at left back despite going off with an injury against Chelsea.
Berbatov may be restored to the side after being benched for last two games and with his hat trick against Liverpool earlier this season as well as winning the penalty in the FA Cup tie in mind, it could be a great time to bring him back in. The scorer of the penalty in January Ryan Giggs, having equalled Sir Bobby’s league appearance record against Chelsea, could very well break it at Anfield.
Liverpool will be missing Martin Kelly who did his hamstring in last weekend’s loss at West Ham whilst it is touch and go for Raul Meireles. Dalglish has played down his involvement but Andy Carroll could possibly play some part in the game having taken part in full training all week.
Form: United suffered only their 3rd defeat of the season at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, prior to that we last tasted defeat at the start of last month against Wolves. Liverpool’s ‘revival’ under Kenny Dalglish came to an abrupt end last week at West Ham where they were duly spanked 3-1 but prior to that they had last been defeated back in the middle of January, going down 2-1 to Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
United Last 6: LWWDWL
Liverpool Last 6: WWDDWL
Last meeting: In a controversial encounter at Old Trafford in the FA Cup 3rd round, Ryan Giggs’ penalty was enough to separate the two teams following a penalty early in the game. The game was Kenny Dalglish’s first back in charge of Liverpool since returning but there were to be no celebrations.
Liverpool’s troubles were further compounded when Steven Gerrard was sent off for a lunging challenge on Michael Carrick. In the aftermath of the game Ryan Babel, now of Hoffenheim, found himself in trouble with the FA after sharing a pick of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt on social networking site Twitter.
This tie last season: Back in October 2009, Torres and Ngog put United to the sword in a 2-0 defeat. Following a run of 4 games without a win, Rafa Benitez was given some breathing space after Torres shrugged off Ferdinand before shooting past Van Der Sar to make it 1-0 whilst Ngog made the tie safe late, slotting home from Lucas’ pass. Vidic again saw red against Liverpool, picking up a second yellow for a foul on Dirk Kuyt whilst Mascherano was also dismissed after a late challenge on Van Der Sar.
You can get odds on a United win at 8/5 or if you aren’t so confident you can get a draw at 11/5. It will be a tight affair but even without our first choice central defensive pairing I don’t see us conceding to the extent that their absence is being highlighted.
United will be buoyed by the fact that Arsenal failed to beat Sunderland yesterday so that should provide extra impetus to get something out of the game. It should be a good one!
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