By John Ryan
- A game that will always be more than three points
On January 4th 1994 Manchester United travelled to Anfield. Within twenty four minutes the visitors led by three goals from a Steve Bruce header a Ryan Giggs lob and a Denis Irwin free kick.
Before half time Liverpool had clawed two goals back with Nigel Clough striking from range then taking the ball past Peter Schmeichel. Eleven minutes to go Neil Ruddock equalised and the game ended in a flurry of football.
It was a game that had everything a game that epitomised both clubs.
Liverpool then the historical kings of English football who have overcome the loss of ninety six fans against Manchester United a club who rose from the Munich Air Disaster to become the first English side to win the European Cup.
This is a game like no other in England; cities just over thirty miles apart, clubs whose fans prefer their own way of life over anything the National side offers and what has often been a mutual loathing sprinkled with a little respect.
The International break was a welcome one for Liverpool.
With one win in their last four games, thirteen yellow cards and a red this season Jurgen Klopp will welcome the chance to re-focus.
For Jose Mourinho the break could halt momentum for a side who has won five of their last six. Having lost Marouane Fellaini to injury while on Belgium duty his place on the treatment table alongside Paul Pogba reduces the Manager’s options.
Klopp is without Sadio Mané which puts a dent in his attacking numbers but is unlikely to alter his approach to the game.
Want away Barcelona target Phillipe Coutinho has the chance to weave some magic in this contest.
His interplay with Mané and Firminho this season has been pleasant on the eye but it is at the back where Liverpool are vulnerable.
Manchester United have been lethal in front of goal with Romelu Lukaku putting the ball in the net at will.
If Mourinho is tempted to play Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the same side Liverpool could be in for a torrid time at the hands of their visitors.
With a stronger defence and a goalkeeper that Liverpool FC can only dream about. Manchester United should overpower the home side.
The history of both clubs has taught us that neither lies down in the face of adversary and Liverpool could stroll to a win if they score the first goal.
The key difference between now and the game twenty three years ago is that Mourinho is schooled in the art of winning games with limited possession.
That added to Manchester United’s ability to play on the counter attack and Liverpool’s penchant for attacking play should ensure a football feast for the neutral and a couple of hours of torture for both fans.
Verdict: Liverpool 2-3 Manchester United