Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool side travel to Old Trafford hoping to build on their 4-1 win in the Europa Cup during the week and to get back on track for the fight for a Champions League place.
Gone for now, it seems, are the days where Liverpool could consider themselves as one of Manchester United’s title rivals, all the talk now is about trying to get into the top four and back into next season’s top European competition.
League tables mean very little so early in the season but with Liverpool going into the game one point above the relegation places a win is vital to avoid a situation where the Reds are nearer that zone than the top four when the table does start to becoming meaningful. It’s also vital for morale, beating one of the club’s main enemies puts a smile on all the fans’ faces, smiles that are hard to find these days because of the endless stream of depressing news relating to what’s going on off the pitch.
At a club where rumours are a constant presence it was no surprise to see Roy Hodgson’s team line up exactly as rumoured over the past couple of days.
The back four is what seems to be Roy Hodgson’s favoured four, Johnson and Konchesky at full-back and Carragher and Skrtel in the middle. No surprise to see Fernando Torres up front, he seems to enjoy playing against United’s new captain Vidic and today may see him show why it’s crazy to write him off.
How Roy chooses to line up the rest of the team remains to be seen, but Poulsen and Meireles are likely to start in central midfield with Cole (back from suspsension) and Maxi taking up wider positions. That would leave captain Steven Gerrard to play in the role he did so well in the 2008-09 season in support of Nando.
Manchester United: 1 Van der Sar, 3 Evra, 15 Vidic, 22 O’Shea, 23 Evans, 11 Giggs, 17 Nani, 18 Scholes, 24 Fletcher, 9 Berbatov, 10 Rooney
Subs: 29 Kuszczak, 6 Brown, 12 Smalling, 8 Anderson, 28 Gibson, 7 Owen, 27 Macheda
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 2 G Johnson, 3 Konchesky, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 4 Raul Meireles, 8 Gerrard, 10 Cole, 17 Maxi, 28 C Poulsen, 9 Torres
Subs: 1 Jones, 5 Agger, 16 Kyrgiakos, 21 Lucas, 14 Jovanovic, 19 Babel, 24 Ngog