Giants of old ... United, Liverpool clash at Old Trafford
Cape Town - The giants of old - Manchester United and Liverpool - will,
quite literally, clash on Saturday, but for the first time in many years, a loss
will not undo progress towards the top four.
Two things stand out, these two famous sides are no longer
the giants of today but rather the current sides stand tall on the legacy of
The second point is more distinctive and a harsh reality of
the current football climate in England - neither is in a position to challenge
for the title.
A true fan, in either shade of red, will acknowledge that a
season where securing a place in the top four is failure. Both these sides have
then failed. While Liverpool are through to the final eight of the Champions
League, Manchester United still have plenty to do to join their rivals in that
Could Jose Mourinho approach this fixture with one eye on
the midweek threat? Many would quite correctly, point out that the best way to
head into that tie is to win this one. But the hosts will not have their own
way as Jurgen Klopp’s side continue to dazzle with their expansive football.
There’s only one Mo Salah. Those would be the chants from
the select few thousand travelling fans that make their way into Old Trafford
this weekend. The Egyptian is proving to be one of a kind as Anfield loyalists
struggle to remember the Brazilian who left for Barcelona in January such is
the dynamic nature of Salah’s work.
The man allowed to leave Chelsea by Mourinho, has 24 league
goals to his name and will join Michael Owen with the second longest goal
streak should he score again on Saturday.
Romelu Lukaku has somewhat kept his critics quiet as he
looks to become the fifth-youngest player to 100 Premier League goals. If the
Belgian does indeed find the net, it will be goal number 15; you can do the
math to the gulf between his return and that of Salah’s.
Both Salah and Lukaku are favoured to open the scoring at 4.25/1.
One area where United do have the edge is on home soil -
they have not won just 3 of their last 13 matches against the Reds. Mourinho,
ever the cautious mentor, is likely to ensure that record stays positive even
if that doesn’t mean going gung-ho in attack. The last three league matches
have been draws, this one has the result written all over it so back the 1-1
draw at 4.5-1.