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Man Utd v Liverpool: Preview

Our dear scouse friends appear fairly bullish ahead of today’s game and fair play to them — they have been knocking in more goals of late. Chelsea play Arsenal at the Bridge in the Grand Slam “Bang Thank You Ma’am For Such Over-Hyped Match Ups That Almost Always Produce Less of A Spectacle Than Was Promised By The Mugs At Sky” Sunday. I just can’t stand the hubris over such announcements by television people. But then, they have to make their living too and events such as this Sunday only serve to keep them going. Speaking of Sundays, a Happy Easter to all who celebrate this festival. Oh, and let me break a secret: the easter bunny is fictional. It does not exist. So wallow in your disappointment as I begin to preview the all important game against the ‘dippers. I also have a secret about Santa that I’d want to let in on, but I’ll leave it until Christmas.

Anderson is doing the talking ahead of his meeting with Steven Gerrard.

‘Names don’t matter to me. I am finding that I can raise my level and offer more when I am playing against the big stars and this is how it was when I played against Gerrard.

It would be great if he does, indeed, raise himself for the big games because otherwise talk would be cheap. Anderson has exceeded all expectations since his arrival, but he is still raw and needs to calm things down rather than going on a rampage. We did very well last time with a midfield of Hargreaves and Anderson, but it remains to be seen if SAF retains that midfield combination; the temptation to play Scholes would be high on his mind. Personally, from what I’ve seen of Carrick, he’s almost always up for it in the big games this season and with his rather impressive form he might feel hard done by at times. However, our team composition will hinge around one important player.

Rio Ferdinand remains a doubt and it will be a big blow if he doesn’t make it. Last time at Anfield, he had Torres in his back pocket, and with the form the Spaniard is in, Rio’s pace and reading of the game would be priceless. So if we assume he’s not playing then there is a good chance that we might go for a 4-3-3 to protect the defence. Hargreaves would be asked to do that job. My preference for the other two midfielders would be Anderson and Carrick, but then, Sir Alex could throw the form book out of the window and play Scholes for a game like this. Brown and Vidic would take up the centre back slots with O’Shea and Evra at full back. While Ronaldo and Rooney would certainly figure in the starting line-up, no one can be sure if it would be Nani, Giggs or Tevez for a start.

Either way we’d do well to avoid playing a high back line that might only serve to help Torres’ pace and power — neither Vidic nor Brown have that pace to play catch up.

On current form, pundits would love to pick Liverpool, but when did current form matter at Old Trafford, in these games? I would be infinitely more confident if Rio plays, but I’ll still be positive about my prediction.

1-0 to United.

Come on you Reds! (Of course, the Old Trafford ones!)

Edit: A mini-roundup post is also up with some articles linked for you perusal.

Update: Scott on the Republik of Mancunia interviewed me in the lead up to this game. Here’s the link to that interview in case you’re interested.