The importance of the match for both David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers – albeit for very different reasons – and the nature of the rivalry between their respective clubs may mean that Sunday’s encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool is more of a battle of stealth than strategy. However, here’s a quick look at how the sides, if they continue with the game-plans that have brought them success in recent weeks, may approach the game.
David Moyes has, rather staggeringly, failed to name the same starting eleven in two consecutive matches since the start of his Manchester United tenure. Nevertheless, a desire to examine the credentials of young defenders, ahead of a summer of upheaval, and some promising away performances from his front six may convince the Scot to redeploy the side that secured victory in United’s most recent match, at the Hawthorns.
Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Gary Neville. They are all former Manchester United captains. Any one of them would take a rocketing ball to the head if it resulted in a United win, any one of them would play in any position required if it helped the team and any one of them would gladly take a pay cut if it lengthened their stay at their club Manchester United.
They all played for the club’s badge, with pride and honour and would fight tooth and nail to help ensure its success. In doing this they produced some truly mesmerizing performances, such as Roy Keane’s performance vs Juventus in the 1999 UCL Semi-Final. Not only were they fantastic footballers, they were also leaders, on and off the pitch, who could single-handedly motivate the whole team by leading through example, and carry them through the most grueling of matches.
The recent announcement that Wayne Rooney had signed a lucrative five-year contract with Manchester United, rumoured to be worth around £300,000 per week for the Liverpudlian, indicated the club’s determination, or maybe desperation, to prove that Old Trafford remains an attractive home for the most stellar names in football.
The extension keeps Rooney at United until he is 33, which is undoubtedly a gamble, but it is one that Ed Woodward clearly felt the club simply had to take as David Moyes sets about transforming the fortunes of his under-performing side.
“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough” These are the words of Manchester United and England legend Sir Bobby Charlton. A man who is a supporter of the youth system at Manchester. A system that has produced world class talents such as Paul Scholes and George Best.
The system some believe, reached its peak when it produced some of the finest players of their generation in an exceptionally small space of time. These players were Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, the Neville brothers and Nicky Butt. These famous graduates were crowned the Class of 92′ as they lead Manchester United to title after title and thus helped lay the foundations for where we are today, as a worldwide footballing powerhouse.
Amid the different reactions to Tuesday’s shambolic defeat in Athens, there was a common theme to be found in the feelings United generated – and have generated throughout the season – for the way the result arrived – more than the result itself in fact – sparked an array of different emotions: from disgust to indignation, from anger to shock.
The one feeling that was almost never mentioned, however, was the one we as fans, have been desperate for this season: relief.
Not too long ago, I was offered the opportunity to write an article discussing the present situation with our beloved – former great – Manchester United. At the time I turned the chance down but, with the caveat that when I felt United had finally reached rock bottom and I reach my Vesuvius point of eruption, I would put pen to paper and rant my bloody spleen out.
Well guess what? That day has arrived.
I will be the first to admit when the Bundesliga Player Of The Year signed for us in the summer of 2012 for £12 Million I was squealing with joy. Okay, maybe not squealing but you understand! I was beside myself with happiness! I had previously been a fan of the Japanese play-a-maker (yes that is an @evilkagawa reference) and had already watched him play a few times at Dortmund under Klopp and he had impressed me every time.
Why Was He Successful At Dortmund?
When United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea I felt a guilty sense of relief as I had been planning to take my girlfriend to Dublin for Valentine’s Day and I could now do so without having to explain that I was going to be absent for a couple of hours on Saturday.
So, on Friday we crossed the Irish Sea and, considering the predicament United have inflicted upon us this season, I must admit I was quite looking forward to spend a weekend without having to worry about David Moyes’ tactics or Antonio Valencia’s refusal to get past his man.