Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday 16th March 2014 – KO 13:30 GMT – Live on Super Sport
Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Assistants: S Beck and G Beswick, Fourth Official: L Probert
Manchester United face their old rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. This is the match that United really need to win to keep their quest for a UEFA Champions League spot next season on target. A loss would mean they could be even further away from the fourth spot, which is the minimum then need to finish in to qualify for the European elite competition for their 22nd consecutive season.In our last match, United played the best football they have played in 2014 scoring three goals and with midfield pairing Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini proving to be a good partnership, which we have not really seen because of injuries to both at some stages this season. The victory lifted the spirits of the players, manager, coaching staff and more importantly the clubs supporters, who have stuck by the manager this season, which he is thankful for. United are in a period of transition and hopefully this summer will fill some of the cracks and allow the side to get back to challenging for the title, amongst other things.
The rise of Liverpool this season is quite a shock and it just shows that a manager under fire can come back and surprise in their second season, so Moyes should at least be given that chance as people seem to expect too many miracles in the first season. The facts are United were left in a tough position by Sir Alex Ferguson. Three of the back four were ageing, the midfield was not creative, but the attacking players were of a top quality. The lack of rebuilding over the past few seasons has finally caught up. Each of the teams above United have continued to build sides, which has left United behind this season, but it is not as bad as it could have been.
David Moyes confirmed today that Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans and Javier Hernandez were all fit and could play a part in the match against Liverpool. The only injury problem is Nani, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury for three months, but he has returned to training, so for the first time I can remember this season, there are no injuries to worry about (touch wood). Liverpool were boosted with the fact that both Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho could both be fit, which leaves José Enrique as the only serious doubt for the match.
Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge have scored 45 goals between them in all competitions this season, which means United’s back four and the midfield need to keep them both contained, but with goals across the squad, United do need to be at their best, The Liverpool side beat Arsenal 5-1 a matter of weeks ago, which needs to be kept in the back of your mind, as the same could happen to United, which would be devastating. Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney only have 28 goals between them in all competitions, but with Danny Welbeck scoring his tenth goal last weekend, it does show the quality we have in the side. The likes of Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj will also provide some great attacking between them, which could be the difference on Sunday. Hopefully United take all three points, but I think it will be a close match.