The Big Game: Manchester United vs Liverpool
Written by Shaun Wares
Today sees the biggest clash of the season so far, as the two biggest teams in the North face off in a must win game. A win for Liverpool could take them back into the all important top four places, whilst Man Utd will be going all out to hang on to the coat tails of league leaders Chelsea.
Chelsea face off against Ian Holloway’s Blackpool, and most are expecting a heavy Blues victory. It would be a decisive psychological victory for Chelsea to take such a commanding lead at this early stage of the season. Of course, the season is a marathon rather than a sprint, but with their relentless form of, their seeming invincibility at home and unerring consistency, who wouldn’t predict the Blues to be early season favourites for the title. Despite not having faced a true test this season, their ability to dominate games and get results will be vital in the coming months.
With all the big guns firing today, with the notable exception of Rio Ferdinand, the Old Trafford faithful will be expecting a result. Vidic and Evans will fancy their chances against misfiring Torres, and Rooney will of course be expecting to open his goal scoring account, partnering the in-form Berbatov up front. A good performance today would silence any critics and slow the relentless march of Chelsea. Ferguson is playing down claims that this is a must win tie, but a loss would certainly raise a few eyebrows.
Liverpool require a result for entirely different reasons. Considered by many not to be realistic title contenders, a solid platform must be laid down this season. Another season in the Europa League will not be enough for the Anfield faithful, and this season could be seen rather as an opportunity to rebuild and perhaps challenge for major honours in the near future. A good result in the week however, will mean that Liverpool will come into the game full of confidence, and with Gerrard and Torres in the side, today will be their best chance to get a result against their Manchester neighbours.
Perhaps I am wrong, but as I sit here, the game has just kicked off, and already United are piling on the pressure. Berbatov has just this second had a near miss, and United certainly seem menacing. Perhaps in two hours time, I will have been proved wrong, but a Liverpool victory today does not hide the fact that they are more likely than any of the other top five teams to slip up against weaker opposition. Big game performance is a must for any of the big five, but the consistency of Chelsea week-in, week-out will be the most telling factor in this season’s title race.
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