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Old Trafford result will eclipse Suarez-Evra sideshow

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 12:38 UK time, Friday, 10 February 2012

Such is the subplot between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra as Manchester United host Liverpool this Saturday that it takes time to refocus on the football matters at hand.

Suarez served an eight-match ban for racially abusing Evra in the previous Premier League encounter between these two north-west rivals in October, and the Liverpool striker is back in the side in time to face the United defender in the return fixture.

The prelude to this already competitive encounter was the 2-1 victory by Kenny Dalglish's side over United in the FA Cup at Anfield last month, where Evra was booed and Suarez was absent.

After completing his suspension, the Uruguayan subsequently made his return to the Liverpool side as they drew 0-0 with Tottenham last Monday.

Now it is time for the final performance of the season between these two teams, and once the baggage surrounding the match is stripped away, there are some signs that Liverpool could put a serious dent in Manchester United's title ambitions, while chasing fourth spot themselves.

"Liverpool and Manchester United won't be thinking of the Suarez-Evra affair," says former Liverpool defender and Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen. "They will go into this game with only one thing on their minds and that is to get a result. The priorities are to finish first for United and to finish fourth for Liverpool.

"As a professional footballer or a manager, the minute you start thinking about anything other than the job in hand then you've got problems.

Liverpool have scored more goals per game in Suarez's absence

"To win a game of this magnitude against your biggest rivals gives you a real impetus and momentum at a crucial time of the season, while if you get beaten it is a real setback. That's why it's such a big game. Both managers will be enforcing that message in the dressing room: if we get a result in this match it can be a springboard for the rest of the season."

Although there have been a surprisingly high number of goals in games between the top teams this season, Liverpool have remained far less spectacular. While struggling in front of goal at times this season, they have also improved in defence.

Dalglish's side have the worst chance conversion rate in the Premier League, but they have kept 10 clean sheets. And while they are unbeaten at Anfield, they have taken significant scalps away from home this term, beating Chelsea twice, Manchester City in the Carling Cup and Arsenal.

Despite their frailties in front of goal, Liverpool have earned some some significant results in Suarez absence's with a counter-attacking system where Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt have flanked Andy Carroll.

Liverpool have the worst chance conversion rate in the Premier League this season

Their goalscoring has actually improved while the former Ajax striker has been sidelined, rising slightly from an average of 1.12 goals per game to 1.29 goals per game. Signs, too, that Carroll might be starting to turn the corner after just five goals this season, leave Dalglish with a dilemma for the Old Trafford trip.

"I thought Suarez would start against Tottenham but he's been out since Boxing Day and when you have been out for that length of time it's like starting your season again," Hansen adds.

"Your sharpness and match fitness will be lacking, so Dalglish might well start him on the bench. Dalglish's tactics will probably be cautious to begin with and bringing Suarez on later in the game might fall into line with that approach."

Hansen believes that neither Dalglish nor Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will leave out either Suarez or Evra for anything other than footballing reasons.

And despite his former team's problems in front of goal, Hansen says he is not too worried given that the defence is more solid than it has been for the last two seasons.

Manchester United have the best chance conversion rate in the Premier League this season


"The back four and the goalkeeper are always the cornerstone of a good side and it's certainly more important to get that right than anything else because that gives you the foundation to build on," he says.

"Even when Suarez was playing brilliantly at the start of the season his goal ratio wasn't brilliant. The keepers kept on making saves and he kept hitting the post and the bar, but sooner or later that will turn.

"What Liverpool really need is to turn somebody over by four or five goals and that might give them the impetus or momentum to get better at home."

That is unlikely to happen on Saturday at Old Trafford, but hands up who saw Manchester City's 6-1 win over United coming? A high-scoring game might not suit all, but it would certainly return football matters to the top of the agenda after a difficult period for both clubs.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It's interesting (but unsurprising) that the ever-ignorant Soul_Patch fails to recognise what Liverpool are doing long term. Yes, they have paid high prices for players good enough only for England's C team, but their team makes up for it with passion, commitment and work rate. In other words, while they are made up of weak individual players, their team as a whole will only get better in the coming years. Individual performance matters little when you're working on building a team that's more than the sum of its members- so really it's not surprising that statistically Liverpool have coped well without their talisman.

  • Comment number 2.

    Fully agree with Captain Hindsight. Another good example of what you're eluding to is Newcastle United.

    Pretty ordinary signings to bolster a pretty ordinary squad, but the work ethic and team spirit has seen them flying high in 5th position in the league.

  • Comment number 3.

    I said before the Chelsea game that i would take 4 points from our next 2 games. After dropping 2 points (in my opinnion) at The Bridge puts added pressure on us to beat Liverpool on Saturday.

    Too be honest, i thought Liverpool were very poor against us in the FA Cup and Dalglish got the tactics horribly wrong. Not putting pressure on our midfield allowed Scholes to dictate the entire game. As with football though possession counts for little if you don't create anything with it but if Liverpool play the same tactics again on saturday i will be very happy as i can;t see us not converting a number of goals.

  • Comment number 4.

    It seems, in Liverpool's case, that the amount spent on attacking options has yielded inversely proportional results when it comes to scoring goals, and only one person is to blame for that - Kenny Dalglish.

  • Comment number 5.

    United's defense is worse that Liverpools at the moment. Liverpools attack is worse that Uniteds. It all points to a draw.

    Liverpool have shown an ability to contain attacking talent (City, Spurs, Chelsea), Bolton aside... and their intensity and work rate is admirable. United on the other hand are a very potent attacking force, but if they do go all out to attack they'll have a few worries about their defensive strength should Liverpool disposess them and launch the counter. Nervy tight affair.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with the above comment

  • Comment number 7.

    The usual Liverpool fanzine article from BBC pundits. Apparently United are going to be involved in this game as well but you would not know it.

  • Comment number 8.

    1, Captain Hindsight, are you serious? Liverpool had the basis of a decent team, not great nor a squad with any real depth but the first 11 was a match for anyone on their day before Dalglish took over. To then go out and spend exorbitant amounts of money on complete averageness like Carroll, Henderson and Downing adds nothing. I am astonished you try to justify it by the passion, commitment and work rate shown makes it OK. It simply doesn't. If they are the markers by which we judge teams then it shows English football has no chance both domestically and internationally. All professional footballers can offer that. Liverpool want to be in the top 4 and fighting for the top prizes both home and abroad and so much more is needed. Liverpool are getting left behind by the top 4 or 5 clubs and Newcastle are showing more then them at the moment. They need to improve through quality players and offering work rate and passion only is not enough. It is quality that is required and without it, they will end up mid-table and overtaken by the likes of Villa, Stoke etc. Liverpool are not a work in progress. They are a team throwing money at the wrong type of player to move them back into the top 4 and untilk they identify and secure those players, they will never make any progress.

  • Comment number 9.

    When did Liverpool last bring a decent young player through their ranks.

    Spearing, Kelly.... back up players at best.

  • Comment number 10.

    @1
    Exactly whats wrong with the english game 'commitment passion' i see its helping them get there fourth place spot :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 11.

    @9 That's 2 more than most of the top six teams ;o)

    @1 If there is a team that is over-achieving in the PL look no further than Man Utd. SAF has and is holding them together at the seams.

    Liverpool have some fabulous talent coming through and will only be stronger in subsequent seasons - can't say the same for Man U, they are in decline.

  • Comment number 12.

    "It seems, in Liverpool's case, that the amount spent on attacking options has yielded inversely proportional results when it comes to scoring goals, and only one person is to blame for that - Kenny Dalglish."

    Forwards Bought

    Carroll - £35m
    Suarez - £23m
    Bellamy - £0

    Total - £57m

    Forwards Sold

    Torres - £50m
    Babel £6m
    Ngog £4m

    Total - £60m

    Kenny's uncontrollable splurging on strikers, currently at -£3m!

  • Comment number 13.

    @11

    EH???

    Players who have 'potential' from our current squad. I am not saying these players are world beaters but they certainly have potential to make it

    De Gea
    Jones
    Smalling
    Fabio
    Rafael
    Cleverley
    Wellbeck
    Hernandez

    Who exactly do Liverpool have that are the same age as this lot but have more potential? I'm not even including youngsters coming through that look great in the youth cup games i've seen and occasional reserve fixtures.

  • Comment number 14.

    post 8- I'm actually a Gooner but they've had to sign these dross players because they aren't in the Champions League, so they couldn't currently attract the kind of technical footballer you mention. This is a problem for several ambitious clubs, take QPR for example who want to ascend but are relegation-battlers: they decided to focus on signing veterans because they would struggle to attract top quality players. Liverpool could well be up there in a few years but it's their best bet for now to focus on effort over skill.

  • Comment number 15.

    Liverfool are on the up Carrols hit blinding form 'galloping' up and down anfield showing the worth of a 35million signing :rollseyes:

    With Luis 'sorry its ok in my country' suarez back another blog will soon be following of him getting them nashers knocked out by evras boot

  • Comment number 16.

    Liverpool have some fabulous talent coming through and will only be stronger in subsequent seasons - can't say the same for Man U, they are in decline.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Come on then, lets hear who this 'fabulous talent' is then? Does it include the £75 million world beaters that are Carroll, Downing and Henderson?

  • Comment number 17.

    Liverpool have some fabulous talent coming through and will only be stronger in subsequent seasons - can't say the same for Man U, they are in decline.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Been hearing we have been in decline since 2001.. we have won 5 league titles and a Champions League as well as other cups since. Some decline!
    As long as Fergie is there and the squad age is young.. United will always be challenging and finsihing above Liverpool.

  • Comment number 18.

    @11 haha brilliant!

    Has no one told you Man Utd have been in decline since '92

    Utd win on the way to #20

  • Comment number 19.

    11 hmm, and yet Liverpool are further off the top this season going into the second weekend of february than they were at the same time last season, whilst United are once again challenging at the top for the league title. go figure.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17

    Do some proper research will you?

    Utd have been in decline since '92

    It's a fact I read it on the BBC website

    Lulzies

  • Comment number 21.

    Generic Suarez and Evra comment

    Generic who's better comment

    Generic title boast comment

    Generic joke about Andy Caroll comment

    Generic statistics about 'net spend' comment

    then end

  • Comment number 22.

    judging by the headline, i thought this would be an article about united and liverpool but is really just about Liverpool..Very peculiar. United Liverpool is always a big game. However with united challenging for the title and Liverpool in the hunt for just a european place, surely united deserve some coverage. The game remembers winners, not those who finish between 4th and 8th..

  • Comment number 23.

    btw who actually wrote the blog? and what the hell is it doing on what is supposedly the Tactics blog? There isn't a single mention of tactics is there? In fact most of it seems to centre around an interview with Hansen, who though a likable enough bloke on tele and with a decent grasp on this fixture obviously (from his years of getting beat by United!) isn't exactly renowned for his tactical insight.

  • Comment number 24.

    @23 here here

  • Comment number 25.

    I agree with 23

    In fact there has been a slow decline in the standards of this tactics blog.

    Why not interview Lee Dixon who is much better with his insight tactically and has a less prejudiced view of it (although he is a Bertie)

  • Comment number 26.

    18 yeah, I remember when United's very short reign as the best team in England ended in 1995 ;-}

    tbf Liverpool did follow up their League Cup that season with some more cups 6 years later though.

  • Comment number 27.

    I don't understand the fuss about Liverpool looking as though they see the future better. In truth, they've fallen too much for their old standards so they, naturally, have a lot of ground to catch up.

    What puzzles me in Liverpool is how much better Young would look for them in place of Downing. That player looks as potential that has remained potential.

  • Comment number 28.

    #19
    That's all Hodgson's fault though remember, King Kenny can do no wrong.

  • Comment number 29.

    BBC tactics blog in decline since 2011

  • Comment number 30.

    I hope United hammer Liverpool on saturday..........there i said it............

  • Comment number 31.

    @23

    I think it's ever since they employed an impressionist to do the column.

    Alistair please go back to doing impressions you were far better than that Dead Ringers fella. Your take on Linekar and Lawrenson is one of the all time classics!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't feel that Liverpool are capable of scoring at the moment. Every time a shot goes in, the overwhelming sense is one of dread rather than optimisitic anticipation. The players must feel the same. What to do tomorrow. We need cutting edge on the flanks to open up space in the middle. Liverpool are not abundant with pace so the passing needs to speed up but be kept simple - take note Charlie Adam in particular.

    What to do long term? Suarez is not a natural finisher in the strictest sense. He had an incredible record for Ajax both in terms of goals but more importantly in terms of assists. In my mind he is as good as Peter Beardsley in his prime and better. But he needs a Rush, Aldridge, Fowler type to play with. So I am going to say it...for 20 million put our eggs in one basket and try to sign Torres. Keep Big Andy too. He is showing signs of improved mobility and overall sharpness. If he learns rto stick his rear out and turn the odd time he'll be there! We prob need to finish 4th to realise this option of course.

  • Comment number 33.

    #30, signori,

    Got the team names wrong? I thought you follow City.

  • Comment number 34.

    #32, DrLiverpool1978,

    Whatever the way Carroll arrived at Anfield, he could surely have a role to play. All he needs is a little bit of confidence. He's great in holding the ball, waiting for players to reach the attack, has a good foot and is also great with headers. Whatever the stick he's received, he's a good option to have, at least when you need to change the game.

    Was Riera more useful to Liverpool than Downing or is it my idea?

  • Comment number 35.

    @32

    I'm a United fan and i sort of want Carrol to perform. I liked the guy at Newcastle and thought he could be very useful for England. God knows whats happened, is it a confidence thing or has the fame gone to his head as he seems fat, slow and lethargic for large periods of time during a game.

    I also think Dalglish's tactics are appalling and don't help him out in the slightest. They have no decent wingers and play so defensively at times there is no-one within 30 yards of him when they hoof the ball forward.

  • Comment number 36.

    33.At 16:15 10th Feb 2012, Reds19 wrote:

    i do, but mate, seriously this season i have built up a hatred so strong for Liverpool i want to see them crumble so badly! i hate Man utd not because you've been the better club in Manchester for a long time but throughout my childhood my brother has wound me up for the best part of 20 years about it! (being a united fan) and laughed at me sat in Old Trafford next to my dad and himself in the united end aged 7 onwards!..........but Liverpool have wound me up no end this year!

  • Comment number 37.

    #36, signori,

    Oh well... respect.
    It's the only I'm allowed to add when you have a 20 year thing going on with wind-up within the family. (laughing but I understand).

    I think Liverpool have a long way to go because City are there to stay, Chelsea will invest, Arsenal are Arsenal and Spurs are the bonus against them reaching the top.

    I'm puzzled with their season. I was expecting them to beat Spurs, as they looked heading for a run. They run out of petrol on the first match at Anfield against a weaker Spurs side.

    Many will say they will play with passion tomorrow but I'm wondering what their own fans will be thinking. If they manage a draw, they're 1 point worse off than a defeat (had they beaten Spurs). If they lose, it's 5 points lost in 2 matches. If they win, their fans will start having strokes remembering the Spurs match. All in all, a mess.

  • Comment number 38.

    @35

    Carroll has been MOTM two out of the last three games for Liverpool.

    The real let down has been Downing, which in turn has affected Carroll because he's not getting the service.

    I agree Young is a better player, but that's the influence of CL football for you.

    Truth is however, United are in decline and this season shows it - , no cups, no CL, certainly no title coming. Without SAF holding them together they would implode.

  • Comment number 39.

    37.At 16:28 10th Feb 2012, Reds19 wrote:

    i predict it to be much like El classico (not in terms of how the teams play) but i expect Liverpool to be much like madrid, go all guns blazing out the traps, flying into challenges, while United (like Barca) will sit back pick the passes off, remain calm and let Liverpool players collect yellows and then pass through them and win 2-1 .

  • Comment number 40.

    #34,35

    I agree, would love to see Carroll put in a big game and a run to seasons end. It's attitude and confidence with that lad. He needs to embrace that he cost 35 million. Understand that responsibilities come on and off the pitch when you play with a big price tag for a big club with big ambitions. Feed off it and play off it.

  • Comment number 41.

    @38

    You have to be of school age otherwise you wouldn't be so stupid to say that. United haven't gone 2 years without a trophy since 1990. Even if we go this year without anything there is only one or 2 missing links from our squad to get us back playing at a level we were a few seasons ago.

    How many missing links to Liverpool have? 7 positions i would say.

    GK, CB, CM, CM, RW, LW, CF

  • Comment number 42.

    Liverpool 2 (Suarez, Evra og) United 1 (Rooney)

    WEMBLEY ANNOUNCEMENT: From 1600 Hours on the 26th February Normal Service will resume. Thankyou.

  • Comment number 43.

    @40

    That's a big 'if' too

  • Comment number 44.

    #38. dogeared.

    How can you call declining a team which is current champions, the only other team with a serious shout for the title and have just invested in bringing excellent looking youth into the team?

    To me, United are shaping up the team for the next decade. All they need is a quality creative midfielder, if not two of them.

  • Comment number 45.

    I too thought this blog was about the tactics or TWO teams for a match on Saturday. But it is a blog about only one, how weird.

  • Comment number 46.

    Argh

    Obvs I meant @41 that's a big 'if' too

    Sorry

  • Comment number 47.

    @44

    If the united squad is shaping up for the next decade why did they need to dig up Scholes?

    The squad is almost as thin as Arsenal's.

  • Comment number 48.

    "for TWO"*

  • Comment number 49.

    #45. lorus59.

    Poor, old Hansen. Liverpool deteriorated and pulled him downwards. I had to check what you mean, as I didn't bother initially to read the article. Had a good laugh.

  • Comment number 50.

    @47 hence why he said that Utd need a creative midfielder or two

    That's a very silly comment you've made there

  • Comment number 51.

    #47. dogeared.

    a) because he can still perform at this level
    b) because they failed to find the creative midfielder of their choice
    c) because Cleverley, besides starting promisingly, he had a long injury.

    Do they not have the capability of strengthening?
    Had they not, they wouldn't bring in Young, Jones and De Gea.
    You're trying to make artificial impressions.

    If United, with the number of injuries they've had, have a weak squad and manage to be just 2 points off the top, perhaps it's good for the competition.

  • Comment number 52.

    49.At 16:44 10th Feb 2012, Reds19 wrote:

    centre mid buys in the summer for United?

    1. your wishlist

    2. someone you may get

  • Comment number 53.

    @52

    1. I'd love Schweingstiger (spelling?) or Modric

    2. probs end up with Rodwell and Pogba signing a new contract

    I'd also have a punt on Ben Arfa

  • Comment number 54.

    #52. signori.

    That's the $1m question.
    I don't know really the right answer.
    I know who I don't want:
    a) I don't want United to get Modric, only because I like him play for Spurs, with them providing additional competition at the top.
    b) I don't want Sneijder because he wouldn't have sell on value.

    That's why it's a difficult problem to solve: the required quality belongs to a rare breed.

  • Comment number 55.

    Bellamy and Kuyt are always dangerous, and Suarez will always be tricky.

    Would they all get into other top sides? Course not (except Suarez possibly) but they can do a job.

    Midfield is always more of a problem, buying second rate players, but though it won't always be pretty or aspirational football, doesn't mean it can't be the undoing of a better side.

    It works for most of the La Liga sides, so why not for the scouse? No, it won't win any leagues, but in recent years just getting favourable head to heads against the big teams has been reward enough.

    Liverpool should want better, but for a game like this quality goes right out the window.

  • Comment number 56.

    its funny how all the liverpool fans say United are in decline yet are still 16 points ahead of liverpool in the league. its a delusion that liverpool fans have been believing for 20 years and yet how many times have liverpool finished ahead of us in that time? once to my memory. if united are in decline then what can be said about your club unlikely to finish in a CL spot for the 3rd season running!

  • Comment number 57.

    @41
    GK, CB? Liverpool have the second best defence in the league behind Man City, so I'm not sure there's a missing link there. Perhaps you should look closer to home regarding those positions...

  • Comment number 58.

    Agree with Reds19 on Sneijder that ship has sailed

    I like Schweingstiger coz he sits a bit deeper, breaking play up, but I guess that's also what Carrick does

    tbh I think Carrick has been our best player so far this year. He looks to be getting confidence back with may be attributible to Scholes returning?

  • Comment number 59.

    If Lucas was theer it would free up Gerrard. Spearing did that role v Spurs, we battered em, but yet again failed to convert.

    With de Gea in goal you never know whats gonna happen. 2-1 to the Reds.

  • Comment number 60.

    "The real let down has been Downing"

    Who would have thought... and all of us outside Anfield had such great hopes!

  • Comment number 61.

    theyoungun
    Reds19

    Tiote??

  • Comment number 62.

    Biggest game in football.

    Cannot wait. Just hope it's not ruined by comedy refereeing.

    Not bothered about the invevitable booing of Suarez - at least it'll drown out the idiots from both sides singing their sick songs.

    After all the nonsense, let's just hope it's a match becoming of the two most successful clubs in the English game.

  • Comment number 63.

    signori

    I wouldn't be surprised with that one. I'm not that keen on him, I think we need someone a bit more cultured.

    From what I've seen of Tiote (admittedly just on TV) he's a lot of huff and puff.

    Saying that I thought the same about Yaya Toure before City signed him but he has probably been the best player in the prem this season

  • Comment number 64.

    #58, theyoungun,

    The reason I didn't mention Schweinsteiger is quality German players end up at Bayern Munich. Just like Neuer.

  • Comment number 65.

    63.At 17:08 10th Feb 2012, theyoungun wrote:

    Abidal
    De Rossi

    i cant see United spending stupid money so Cleverly fit and someone the plus side of 26/27 to mix it up......

  • Comment number 66.

    #61, signori,

    Tiote is a good player. When it comes to United, I try to visualise how they'd perform against the cream of Europe. I don't really have an clear opinion but I think, had SAF wanted him, he'd have bought him, being in the right age too.

    #62, CoalitionOfTheWilting,

    It would be nice if we watch the match tomorrow without booing at all. It all becomes too silly. Someone needs to make the start in seeing common sense.

  • Comment number 67.

    Reds19 & theyoungun

    what about Kaka? possibly be able to take him from Real with a seriosu bid of about 15-20 million maybe?

  • Comment number 68.

    Reds19,

    Agree wholeheartedly.

    Ain't going to happen though, is it :)

    Of course, there'll be a lot less booing when the 4th goes in and they all start pouring out the door.

    :)

  • Comment number 69.

    #67, signori,

    Is Kaka available for £10m? Didn't know it.
    Did I answer?

    68, CoalitionOfTheWilting,

    It's always good to look positive :)

  • Comment number 70.

    Reds19,

    And why not?

    Sound defence, better away from home, a pretty ragged Utd side (relatively) and good vibes around the LFC camp (again, relatively).

    If my aunty had nuts etc, but if we'd scored a quarter of our chances we'd be 2nd, so it's not all doom and gloom!

  • Comment number 71.

    69.At 17:21 10th Feb 2012, Reds19 wrote:

    i said in the region of 15 to 20, although he signed a huge 6 year deal when he arrived at Real, maybe more

  • Comment number 72.

    Just seen Kenny's incredibly gracious comments re: Ferguson regarding the England job.

    Good on him - pity Ferguson can never bring himself to reciprocate, as his constant references to 'them' only underline.

    Even after overtaking LFC in the titles race, he still seems incredibly bitter towards Liverpool.

  • Comment number 73.

    It's gonna be a tight game I expect. A mean defense against some good Utd attacking players. Don't be suprised to see Kenny play 3-5-2 to flood the midfield.

  • Comment number 74.

    Might as well just rename it to Hansen Interview about what Liverpool can/will do on Saturday.

    Amusing posts by signori, sorry to see your brother has given you grief. I can kind of relate although not quite. I too want to see Liverpool battered, so let's drink to that :)

  • Comment number 75.

    RBH,

    Will be disappointed to see that.

    4-4-2, Maxi on the left, play Johnson as RW, Bellers and Carroll up front.

    Suarez as impact sub, take them on.

    You're probably spot-on, though.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm not Liverpool fan but love the boasting along the lines of "if we are in decline, why have we won champions league in past 5 years" from United fans.

    United are a huge club on the European stage. Fergy has been manager for 25 years. If my mum managed a European powerhouse for 25 years she'd win 2 European cups.

    Eg Bayern, AC, Barca, Madrid, Inter, Even Chelsea would / should win two out of 25

  • Comment number 77.

    @ 76 very unfortunate comment. I take it you just recently turned to football then?

  • Comment number 78.

    77,

    I understood exactly what he meant.

    I think the lad just went to the Redknapp School Of Writing.

  • Comment number 79.

    Lots is being said about Suarez but we've seen Dalglish even play with 4-6-0 for periods in matches.

    Personally, I expect United to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Liverpool, with Liverpool containing the United attack, playing the counter.

    Is it only me thinking that, in a 4-5-1 Liverpool formation, Carroll would be a preferred choice, as he's shown he can keep and pass the ball?

  • Comment number 80.

    Reds19,

    Carroll's a shoo-in.

  • Comment number 81.

    #76, danielwebb17,

    Your mum for England manager? I'm sure the F.A. would save a £million or two per season, plus she would write history in English football.

  • Comment number 82.

    #80, CoalitionOfTheWilting,

    I'd like to watch a 5-4 thriller and let the best team win.

    United need to win.
    Liverpool needed to beat Spurs.

  • Comment number 83.

    Alistair - So you think the Suarez/Evra thing is a 'sub-plot' for Saturday do you? Surely 'King Kenny' has ensured its much more than that?

  • Comment number 84.

    Don't agree with the latter. Spurs draw, with their form, was not a bad result at our place with the way it's going this season.

    Liverpool need to win all their games in April.

    That's the bigger challenge. And we've struggled with that sort of lineup for nigh-on two decades.

  • Comment number 85.

    @51

    I agree Scholes (and Giggs) has a little life left in him, but it doesn't sit well with the claim of being set for the next 10 years :o)

    I think we can also have a bit of a lol with the claim that De Gae has strengthened the squad.

    Ferdinand is finished, Vidic and Evra are almost finished, Giggs and Scholes are almost finished.

    This is why you're playing on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays.

  • Comment number 86.

    83,

    When it comes to the crunch, everything other than the match is fluff.

    About time people actually realised that.

  • Comment number 87.

    #84. CoalitionOfTheWilting.

    I think you were crossing your fingers while typing with one hand there :)

    Spurs were without their manager, without players and in a packed Anfield, with Liverpool looking ready to head for a run, having just gone past City and United into two finals. It was a dreadful result.

    Where is HAHA Charade to ask him if danielwebb17's mum > Wenger. 16 years at Arsenal and not one Champions League Cup.

  • Comment number 88.

    #85, dogeared,

    So, you don't realise that this United team is a team in transition? Is it because they seem, as always, to look as though they're doing it seemlessly, without stopping from challenging for trophies?

    De Gea is in his first year at United. He's been proven just-a-kid at times but last week's save is something I wouldn't mind watching dozens of times, one after the other. In any case, I referred to him when mentioning that United spent money for De Gea, Jones and Young, indicating that they rather look as willing to invest rather than declining.

  • Comment number 89.

    87,

    Not at all - we're crap at home this season and fully expected the draw.

    They parked the bus and we've struggled with that all the time Suarez has been missing, and even when he's been in he's not been able to hit a cow's arse with a banjo, just like everyone else. They gave us a bit too much respect, imo.

    We should be battering our way through those April fixtures - actually, from Sunderland onwards.

    Whether it happens is a very different matter.

  • Comment number 90.

    What are the odds on Berbatov starting and scoring a hattrik? ;)

  • Comment number 91.

    #89, CoalitionOfTheWilting,

    I was expecting more from Suarez when he came into the match.
    I don't know how much Liverpool are going to regret all those draws at Anfield but I did calculate too the points you've lost and where you'd be.

    Last season, Liverpool finished the season strongly, to the point many were wondering whether they'd qualify for Champions League had there been a few more matches left to play.

    If I can find a positive or two for Liverpool is, so far, you've invested in strikers but got the defense sorted out, which can be positive because teams tend to be rebuilt from the back.

    Also, Liverpool might have a different position, had they had a little bit of an improvement in their chances-turned-goals ratio. Still, it's a nice problem to have because it means they create chances. I'm wondering how much it has to do with Downing's poor contribution (in my opinion).

  • Comment number 92.

    Is it just me or did Luis' shirt look a little, erm, tight?

  • Comment number 93.

    #92. CoalitionOfTheWilting.

    That would be wonderful news for United but I doubt it.
    I think he was overwhelmed by the expectation (both the fans' and his).

  • Comment number 94.

    I am really looking forward to the match tomorrow. I just hope we are able to talk about a fantastic game between two football heavyweights after the match. Please, please, please no dodgy penalties or controversial sending off's.

    I couldn't get a ticket so I have given the missus some money to go shopping, the kids some pocket money to entertain themselves for 90minutes. The beers and prawn sandwiches are chilling in the fridge. Game on.

  • Comment number 95.

    @ 91 Ok when one's drink is interfering with one's spelling, it is clearly time to have another.

  • Comment number 96.

    @87 - So what you are saying is that Redknapp should sack Bond, Jordan and Allen because they are useless and can't cope without him?
    Also Spurs were without 2 1st team starters, VDV and maybe defoe..the same as Liverpool

  • Comment number 97.

    Re: Downing.

    Massively disappointing.

    Seems scared to be playing for the most successful club in English football.

    Because he certainly has the quality.

    Look at the bins video! :)

    At least we can blame it on the owners, so that £20m doesn't count if he doesn't come good next season.

    The chopping and changing of the entire side from midfield onwards for various reasons practically every game hasn't helped LFC's cause at all this season either, especially when trying to bed in new players - probably too many.

    Still, everyone realises it's been a 'transitional season' so it's difficult to really slate them, considering where we are compared to how relatively meh we've been of late.

    Been some excellent positives, though. Younglings coming through, Agger/Skrtel partnership clicking, yet another Golden Glove for Reina on the cards.

  • Comment number 98.

    I hope berbatov doesn't play, Liverpool always struggle to play against him and his movement

  • Comment number 99.

    @ 97 Arsene would pay to have you as an Arsenal supporter :) So blissfully optimistic and forgiving. I must point out though, Downing does not play for Manchester United.

  • Comment number 100.

    I'd be surprised if our back line are worried about any of Utd's attacking options, given our excellent defence this season.

    Still, it must be nice to be able to bring on £30+m subs.

 

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