United on red alert

2010-03-18 08:01

London - Manchester United will be the ones on red alert when Liverpool turn up at Old Trafford on Sunday for a Premier League match neither side can afford to lose.

United were thumped 4-1 by Liverpool at home last March and still went on to win the championship but the stakes are higher than ever now.

The leaders are just two points clear of Chelsea, who have a game in hand and no Champions League to distract them after being dumped out by Inter Milan, and Arsenal as the season enters the final stages.

Liverpool are out of the title picture but Rafa Benitez's side are making an all-out push for fourth and a possible Champions League place and need every point they can get.

They showed their mettle at Anfield on Monday with a resounding 4-1 win against almost-relegated Portsmouth, before turning their attentions to Lille in the Europa League on Thursday.

Liverpool beat United twice last season and will be chasing another double on Sunday after winning 2-0 at Anfield in October.

"It would be very dangerous to think this is a poor Liverpool side coming to Old Trafford because they will be anything but," midfielder Darren Fletcher told the Manchester Evening News.

"It would be a huge mistake to think that Liverpool aren't a threat. They maybe haven't had the season we expected after the one they had last year but they are still a dangerous side.

"They are still the same team they were last year in the main," added the Scot.

"We know what they are capable of because they pushed us all the way and dished out that defeat here and the one at Anfield this season. They are still fresh in our memories.

"We have to learn the lessons from last year's game. The warnings are there. If you are not 100 percent focused and you make mistakes then Liverpool will punish you."

United will hope England striker Wayne Rooney is the one doing most of the punishing after some sensational recent form.

He scored twice against Fulham at Old Trafford last Sunday to take his season's tally to 32 and is on course to surpass the 42 scored by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/2008.

While Rooney will be one of the leading lights at the World Cup in South Africa this summer, so too will Liverpool's Spanish striker Fernando Torres who also grabbed a brace against Portsmouth.

Third-placed Arsenal will go top of the league for a day if they win at home to lowly West Ham on Saturday, with Chelsea at Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

Portsmouth, docked nine points on Wednesday for going into administration last month, host Hull City with Iain Dowie making his debut as manager for the relegation-threatened visitors.


  • NSE - 2010-03-18 09:12

    Attention Steven Gerrard and all other English Liverpool players... Please be careful around Rooney and don't tackle him too hard. He is your best hope for an English World Cup so be careful ok.....Lol

  • Harold - 2010-03-18 09:30

    This match is over hyped up! The winner gets the usual 3 points and the loser is not necessarily the vanquished. In fact you can win the league after losing this fixture and the winner can shoot themselves in the foot by extending their managers contract after some misplaced euphoria!

  • Big K - 2010-03-18 09:48

    @Harold & NSE, LOL.... well said!!!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-18 10:21

    Harold, this has NOTHING to do with the league - it's about bragging rights. You are talking about the 2 most successful English Clubs of all time, who are the 2 most supported English Clubs in the world ! And us Scouser's may have had the bragging rights the last 3 games in a row, but I don't know this time ... them Manc's are flying & Rooney looking dangerous whereas we are not firing on all cylinder's - our one weak point is Insua at left back - the lightie is good but doesn't have Aurelio's experience, who he is back up for - unfortunately Aurelio is & has been injured most of the season, and most teams attack us down their right wing - and United have Valencia on the right putting in all those dangerous balls to Shrek ... Utd also will have had a full week's rest, whereas we played Monday night & have a massive game tonight, so we won't be as fresh as them .... and we are away from home ... BUT, all of this said, if Rafa does what he did Monday night, i.e. Aquilani instead of Lucas, I still believe we can do it again - maybe not 1-4, but we CAN grind out a result - we always play our best in the big games when we are the underdogs, so bring it ! However, alot will depend on what happens in our UEFA Cup game tonight in my opinion ... here's to another epic game, which hopefully won't be decided by controversial issues, e.g. red cards, soft penalty's, etc

  • Gooner - 2010-03-18 10:50

    Arsenal will sneak thru to win the title...and that is a fact

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-18 10:52

    BTW Harold, the contract was signed a week before that game - in his next 2 games, he put 4 past Real Madrid & 4 past Utd at OT - maybe we should quickly offer him a bonus ? LOL !

  • Theater of Dreams - 2010-03-18 11:01

    ...and the reds go marching on on on!!!

  • seeps - 2010-03-18 11:02

    True Red - this reiterates my reasoning behind having medals made for teams that do the double over United every season cos that way Liverpool would atleast get that every year or so cos at your current pace ya'll will keep winning nithing but "bragging rights". Arsenal ain't sneaking jack - it'll be the usual fall behind when it counts and then drop like a fly in the Champions League in the Quarters again, GGMU!!!!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-18 11:26

    seeps, you miss the point - i assume you are one of the newer glory supporter's - ask any real Manc what it means to beat us & you will find their thought's mirrors mine. It is the 2 biggest games of the year, every year - always has been, always will be, and just like any derby game, form doesn't count !

  • Shaheen - 2010-03-18 11:28

    The old adage "The form book goes out the window...." applies here when United and Liverpool meet. The traditional rivalry brings the best (and worst) out the players and no winning or losing streak matters at kick off time, because it's Manchester United vs Liverpool and anything can happen during the course of 90min (plus stoppage time :P). I'm looking forward to the clash and United should break the losing streak against Liverpool. Rooney is in awesome form and so are his providers, Nani and Valencia. The back four is back, and United now have the stability they lacked in recent times. Notice how the clean sheets started reappearing? UNITED! UNITED!! UNITED!!!

  • YNWA - 2010-03-18 11:42

    Sure enuf Benitez will play lukas and revert to his old ways. If I see this guy on the feild on Sunday I am going to switch the TV off and check the result in the paper. It will just be a waste from our side.

  • Achmed the Dead Terrorist - 2010-03-18 12:05

    Like the guys before have said. Form counts for nothing in this game. I have been waiting for this match for too long now. It is going to be an awsome match. I am praying that Ferguson and his Red Army run riot on Liverpool this Sunday. I am not a fair weather supporter just superstitious when it comes to commenting on this site. GGMU

  • Nash the Gunner - 2010-03-18 12:27

    Lucas to score a brace on Sunday

  • Drakkar - 2010-03-18 12:44

    I made lots of money from liverpool fans over the years with all united's titles compared to liverpools.... well... none! Last season the usual betting took place. After liverpool did the double over united their fans got very brave (stupid!?) and wanted to raise the stakes. I warned them as I did on this post after that game that the double would be the highlight of their season and that united will still take the title. They didn't listen. I relented and the stakes were raised. Needless to say last season was a bumper one for me. I made more money from those clowns then the last two seasons combined. liverpool did the double over united and still lost the title to united. I will happily settle for a repeat this year

  • MUFC4LIFE - 2010-03-18 12:52

    This is gna be liverpool's world cup. They always play well against united. Like last year the only trophy they'll have is the DVD of the wins against united. This is what they wait for all year and the only times there fans have something to rave about.

  • Harold - 2010-03-18 13:00

    @True Red. That says a lot of your club's and fellow scousers' ambition if bragging rights are satisfying your thirst. No wonder Rafa has kept his job for so long. For the record - while both teams are on 18 league titles, 'Pool have taken 95 years of top flight football to achieve this while Man United have done it in only 85 years. I reckon United will surpass 'Pool in the next 10 years. PS. The fixtures I look forward to are the ones against the Gunners and Chelsea.

  • Harold - 2010-03-18 13:01

    @True Red. That says a lot of your club's and fellow scousers' ambition if bragging rights are satisfying your thirst. No wonder Rafa has kept his job for so long. For the record - while both teams are on 18 league titles, 'Pool have taken 95 years of top flight football to achieve this while Man United have done it in only 85 years. I reckon United will surpass 'Pool in the next 10 years. PS. The fixtures I look forward to are the ones against the Gunners and Chelsea.

  • KOPKOMMANDO - 2010-03-18 13:50

    @Harold...I will be sure to arrange a very nice reception for MANURE UTD at Arsenal and Chelsea!

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-18 14:00

    Harold, Utd are one year OLDER than LFC - ever heard of "Newton Heath" ? You don't even know about the club you "support" ! Or did you think the mense at Old Trafford are wearing green & gold these days because they support Bafana Bafana ? We have an entire season in hand, LOL ! And again, true supporter's like Shaheen understand this is NOT about the league table - it's about the 2 giants & biggest rivals in English Football history locking heads & is watched worldwide because of each club's huge fanbase's. Doing the double over the Manc's will not disguise the fact that we've had a crap season, no doubt, but it does give bragging rights until the next game, which any true Utd supporter will enjoy if you guy's win. Like I said, everything counting against us at the moment, but I will WALK ON WITH HOPE IN MY HEART !

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-18 14:15

    Harold, it may not be important to YOU, but this is from the greatest Utd player IMHO, Giggs : The Welshman told Sky Sports News: "We didn't play well here last year against Liverpool and they deserved the victory. Hopefully that won't be the same this week. "It's a massive game, purely because it is Liverpool. It is towards the end of the season so there is so much riding on it. "No matter how the teams are doing, it is just a massive rivalry because of the history between the two teams, they are two successful teams. "There is lots of quality on the pitch so you know need to perform whether you are at Anfield or Old Trafford. "We let ourselves down last year. Hopefully that won't be the case. We are in good form and scoring goals." Giggs has played an integral role in helping United move level with Liverpool on a record 18 domestic league titles, with 11 crowns of his own. And the experienced campaigner claims that finally moving ahead of their neighbours in the record books would be a sweet moment, although it is not his only motivation. He added: "As a United fan, for me it comes into it, growing up seeing Liverpool win everything. We are trying to win the league this year and whatever records you break or whatever things you do in history comes after. At the moment you want to win the game to try and help you win the league"

  • Bazil G - 2010-03-18 14:16

    Any true blooded fan (Red or reddevil) surely knows the intensity and passion of this game. Even Fergie admits it is the biggest game of the year irrespective of standings in the league. So let the passion flow.... My memory and records say that overall honours still belong to the Reds as we have amassed 58 honours to your 55. The only cup that you (Utd) have achiEved that we have not is the World Club Championship (Big Deal). ANYONE WOULD LOVE WINNING THE LEAGUE - BUT WINNING THE LEAGUE AND SMASHING YOUR BIGGEST RIVAL AS WELL HAS GOT TO BE THE BEST...Lets see what you've got on Sunday - no excuses.

  • Big K - 2010-03-18 14:29

    This is exactly the build up i was expecting ( Stats, numbers , b1tching, etc)!! Form means F@#$ ALL when utd & pool play, bottom line, pride, bragging rights etc is at stake and yes its the most important fixture in the league no matter where these teams sit on the log!! Im looking forward to it, to be honest, the last 3 games were very bitter to swallow and thank god im not a betting man, but i'll always have faith in my team and its going to be Rooney and Fletcher putting in some goals, im sure Torres will bag 1!! Its more of a cracker now cos if Pool loose then 4th spot is literally gone and if WE loose, the title might jus slip away from us!! I love this game!!! May the best team win!! Make Way Pool cos the King of Kings will be striking, all hail King ROONEY!!!!! GGMU

  • Harold - 2010-03-18 14:36

    True Red, I have known about Newton Heath since 1984 when I stated being a United fan. I was talking about top flight seasons and not number of years in existance. A team can only win the league title by playing in the top flight. The great Liverpool sides of the 80s did go out to win bragging rights but trophies. Bragging rights are like crumbs. Enjoy your crumbs while I enjoy my meals.

  • Lamps_8 - 2010-03-18 14:37

    Its Quite Obvious who I want to Win this 1,So Go On LFC,Do it Again and Do yourselves and the rest of us a Big favour.Lets see if the scouse can keep up that Winning spree against Roonited

  • IAB - 2010-03-18 14:44

    @fake red , Utd are one year YOUNGER than LFC - ever heard of "EVERTON" ? You don't even know about the club you "support" facts mate know them before you talk

  • TRUE Red - 2010-03-18 14:51

    Harold, if we do win you can be sure I will enjoy my crumbs. Especially if it also means stopping you guy's from having a meal come May ! That's it for me - the most important game at the moment is tonight's ... MAY BE BEST, DESERVING TEAM WIN ON SUNDAY !

  • Garreth - 2010-03-18 14:57

    I think this game will be a tuff one as both sides can not lose. It will come down to the coachers and the tactics they play. Liverpool has the upper hand on United and should use what they have and beat them once again!

  • Man U - 2010-03-18 15:16

    I must say that losing against Liverpool last season and so far this season was extremely hurtfull! I have waited for this game since the 25th Oct! Even if Utd were 20 points ahead and the league was already won, losing again to Liverpool will ensure another year of misery! Winning the league is first prize but losing to Pool will take some gloss of the trophy. So COME ON Red Devils, give me some bragging rights!!!!!!!!

  • MUFC fan @ Red - 2010-03-18 15:20

    I gotta agree with the chap. It may seem like True Red is saying that because his team aint gonna get the league, but lets face it guys, MUFC & LFC makes for an interestingly spectacular fixture. It is even better than MUFC vs CITY or LFC vs EVERTON. Bragging rights don't bring you points, but it will bring you a smile/tear win or lose. BUT, True Red, remember it is always the person who laughs last... and you guys have NOT laughed in the PREMIERSHIP AS YET!

  • Jace - 2010-03-18 15:29

    If only fellow fans , supporters of the BEAUTIFUL GAME has the same level of passion for our local teams & players , what will the fans abroard make of this. I am a huge RED DEVIL supporter and tend not to get caught up in the nonsensical hype of MAN U , 'POOL , CHELSEA comparisons. Talk is cheap , organise a parkinglot match amongst yourselfs and see then who can really play soccer...

  • Never Walk Alone - 2010-03-18 15:30

    Lots of bithching and moaning about sweet f#&% all !! The only time that LFC is ever going to compete with Man. U again for top honours is if we get rid of Benitez - as unfortunately this is the only game that seems to motivate the fool to do something right with the team - as his narrow mindedness has boiled down to merely beating Fergie and nothing else matters beyond that. How I would love to see Mourinho at Liverpool - as he has the skill and ability to work with top class players - and bring out the best in them. If Lucas plays on Sunday - then I am afraid we are done ! It will be wonderful for bragging rights if "Pool beat MU - but in the bigger scheme of things - it means f#@* all if you win the battles and loose the war !!!

  • @ IAB - 2010-03-18 15:38

    Dude, are you retarded ? LFC is a totally different club from them Toffee's - they didn't want to pay the rent at Anfield anymore (too expensive) so John Houlding started LFC to pi$$ them off on the 15th of March 1892. Mission accomplished !

  • JustinD - 2010-03-18 15:41

    It's gonna be a cracker. Bragging rights are important but so are the 3 points right now. 3-1 United

  • @HAROLD - 2010-03-18 16:01

    Are you talking about next season as Arsenal have already player Manu

  • Nash the Gunner - 2010-03-18 16:28

    @ @Harold: clearly he means those are the games he looks foward to in general, but i miss the days of Viera and Roy Keane, nowadays the Arsenal Man Utd games are quite boring and i blame the new Gunners outfit for not bringing more passion and the will to win on match day...

  • Batman - 2010-03-19 08:59

    Red Devils beware THE IDES OF RED TIDE. Same time last year 12 goals in ten days. This week 7-2 aggregate and wait for Sunday to complete the tally for the week. Lets face it - THE RED DEVILS ARE QUAKING EVEN IF THEY WILL NOT ADMIT IT. This is (at this point) bigger than the league... Torres will score. Gerrard will score. Someone will be sent off. Liverpool will win, with or wothout Lucas. Will put both my houses on it.

  • Nash the Gunner - 2010-03-19 09:33

    Lucas 2 - 1 Rooney

  • Dr Phil - 2010-03-19 10:34

    Anyone who has spent time at Manchester/Old Trafford will know that ManU versus Liverpool is an always sought after fixture. I agree form book comes second and is replaced with passion and honour. It will be an interesting game and we hope that Rafa comes to the table with his crappy team selection. GGMU

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