The Mancs. At home. Fourth place at stake. A win takes us above them. Very nervous but at the same time, very excited.
United are two points above us now and we have done so well to narrow the gap to that very minor margin. Let’s not mess up now. As Rodgers said last week following the win against Swansea: “We haven’t done anything yet!”
I’m sure the players won’t need reminding how big this game is, especially now with potentially the final Champions League place up for grabs.
Ironically, the last time the Reds tasted defeat in the league was against United at Old Trafford. It was the game that we got to see Rodgers try out this 3-4-2-1/3-4-3 formation which has been such a massive success. Liverpool, judging by the scoreline, were thrashed 3-0. There were definitely glimpses, though. Glimpses that the formation could work and it undoubtedly has.
Liverpool come into this crucial game in fantastic form and the Reds top the Premier League’s form table. There was a not so pretty, but hugely satisfying 1-0 win against Swansea on Monday night. Brendan Rodgers’ side knew that it was a must-win game due to United thrashing Spurs on Sunday.
It’s Steven Gerrard’s last game against Manchester United. That’s a scary and depressing thought. Will Rodgers play him purely based on sentiment? I hope not – if I’m honest. Some fans may disagree with me on this because it is his last time to play against Liverpool’s enormous rivals, but the team are performing so brilliantly at the moment and Joe Allen alongside Jordan Henderson have been instrumental in the side’s performance levels. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken.
Apart from that – there’s only one change I’d make. I’d bring Lazar Markovic in for Adam Lallana. It’s not so much that Lallana has done badly – it’s more that I want to see Sterling more advanced; preferably behind Sturridge. I think the Coutinho and Sterling partnership behind Sturridge is our strongest trio we can play in this formation and once it gets firing – it will become unstoppable.
I want a Manchester City-esque performance. Right from the start, get at this United defence. When they’ve got the ball, sprint at them – force the mistake, because there’s plenty in there. Runs in behind from Sturridge and Sterling – Coutinho feeding the balls in behind – the stuff of dreams (on paper). An early goal *could* shake this United side, too. It sounds so obvious because we all want it, but I want a similar display to what we did to Arsenal last season in the 5-1. A statement to the rest of the league. I say that – but I’d undoubtedly and without thinking about it, take a really dull 1-0.
I’m predicting a 2-0 win for the Reds and Daniel Sturridge to get his name on the scoresheet alongside Philippe Coutinho. Below is an image of the side I’d go with. Oh, and up the Reds.