Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Can Manchester United spring a surprise against arch-rivals Liverpool?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 18 Oct 2019

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Manchester United and Liverpool are the two most successful football clubs in English football. The two teams meeting will always be a big occasion, with millions around the world watching the encounter. However, this Sunday’s clash between the pair at Old Trafford could potentially be one of the most one-sided in recent history.

Contrasting fortunes

These two teams have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in recent seasons. German boss Jurgen Klopp has returned Liverpool to the glory years. The Reds are dominating the English top-flight this season, having won all their Premier League matches.

They are playing and acting as champions in the waiting. They have of course been in this many times before in the past. However, there now seems to be a real belief that they can end their 30-year wait for an English top-flight title.

Manchester United, on the other hand, have lurched from one high-profile boss to another, never really truly returning to glory. None of the bosses that have come in have been able to live up to Sir Alex Ferguson.

This season has been particularly bad, as United have made their worst start to a top-flight campaign in the Premier League era. The misery just keeps coming for the Red Devils fans, as two of their best players in goalkeeper David De Gea and midfielder Paul Pogba will miss out through injury.

Solskjaer under massive pressure

Despite being a United hero, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under massive pressure with the team currently now 12th place in the Premier League table. A poor showing and a potential hammering at the hands of their bitter rivals will not go down well with anybody connected with the club.

As much as United fans want him to succeed, the Norwegian is looking more and more out of his depth in the Old Trafford hot seat. If he had not been a former United hero from his playing days, he wouldn’t have even been considered for the job. His CV is mediocre, to say the least.

This game could be pivotal for Solskjaer as United boss. If he can manage to grind out a result against the Reds, then it may just instil the belief that he does have the managerial acumen to turn things around at United. If it is business as usual, then there will only be one winner.

How will it pan out?

Solskjaer may need to ring Jose Mourinho for some tips on bus parking, as that’s likely going to be the Red Devils strategy against the league leaders. Quite simply Liverpool have better individual players.

United cannot go toe-to-toe with the Reds. It is a rare occasion that United head into a home fixture with Liverpool as underdogs, as they are odds of 17/4 to defeat the Reds. It seems quite improbable. However, football is a funny old game and as we have seen this season already, underdogs can triumph.

It’s easy to forget sometimes that this Manchester United we are talking about on home soil. However, such is the fall in the standard of quality in recent years that Klopp’s team are light years behind their north west rivals.

Ironically, not only would a victory help their fortunes, it would do city rivals Manchester City a major favourite too. Not to mention boost Solskjaer’s stock. Sorry to be a cynic, but I cannot see the current United team pulling off a shock. If they do then it will open up the title race and kick-start their season, though.

Can Manchester United pick up a massive win over north west rivals Liverpool on Sunday?



David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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