This Saturday welcomes one of footballs biggest and arguably most heated derbies. The biggest showdown in the English Premier League – a tie in which it’s magnitude can only be matched by it’s historical importance. I’m of course talking about the game between Manchester United and Liverpool this weekend. Although it would seem like a done deal in terms of Football betting, as Man United’s game to lose, I can’t help but feel there’s a little more to it.
Alex Ferguson and his squad will be in perfect condition for this game after their heroic display at Stamford Bridge were they pulled three late goals back to salvage a point from a collapsing Chelsea side. The game itself was entertaining by all means for the neutral but it did well to underline a specific part of the Manchester United psyche – a never say die attitude.
This mind-set is as characteristic of Ferguson’s United as the red shirts they were on their back, and it’s prevalent in the way the club have maintained their title challenge despite the glaring setbacks to the squad. Well, until they lose a game that is.
Despite the clubs good form this season, Manchester United have been guilty of ruing over a bad result. In the mirrored result against Liverpool last season at Anfield, United dropped two points with a 1-1 draw, which then led to the infamous 6-1 defeat to Manchester City the next week. Similarly, the club failed to get over the loss to Blackburn, by then submitting to Newcastle by three goals to nil. In fact, Manchester United have only ever successfully responded from a draw twice and one them – the win over Norwich at Old Trafford last October – was anything but a ‘comfortable win’.
Such a pattern begs the question as to whether United will break the habit or continue to struggle against sides after dropping points the week before, against a Liverpool side who must be feeling confident at this stage of the season.
With Liverpool’s 2-1 win over United last week, the Reds increased their top Scalp count to three with wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and now Manchester United under their belt. A trend that has appeared increasingly common as the season has gone on.
Before disposing of United in the FA Cup, Liverpool overcame their city rivals in the second leg of their League Cup tie with a 2-2 draw to win 3-2 on aggregate and book their first Wembley final since 1996.
With Suarez back,(and claiming that Man United fan’s abuse only spurs him on, earlier this week) the fans will be hopeful that their team will be able to throw their best at United and claim a repeat to the game at Anfield last week.
Despite a relatively under-performing run in the league thus far, predominantly against bottom half sides, the club have done well on big occasions against top sides which is evident from their immaculate cup form in the League and FA Cup.
Whether Dalglish’s men can cause another upset at Old Trafford on Saturday will depend on a number of factors, but none more so than the pattern in which both sides have been performing this season. Whether or not Man United and Liverpool can break or maintain theirs, is the key to who will come out with the points.
Twitter – @SBienkowski