Date: 13th March 2009 at 6:59am
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So here it is, this seasons EPL boils down to 90mins tomorrow at Old Trafford. Our three draws in January and the awful defeat to Boro last month has presented us with the task of having to beat ManU away in order to retain any hope of preventing them from having a share of our record of 18 English top-flight championships as a win for United will move them 10points clear with a game in hand.

We travel to Old Trafford in good form and confidence high after our mauling of Real Madrid on Tuesday night but if you believe that Rafa will have the team play in the same manner against ManU I think you will be disappointed. ManU away is a totally different task than Real at home. I can see the team being more defensive at the start in order to try and fustrate our hosts and then attempt to get a foothold ourselves and pinch a goal. I can’t see for the life of me this game being a classic but if it’s still level with 20 mins to go it will boil over as the Liverpool players will know its better to get beat trying to win than settle for 1 point.

There has been a lot of talk that ManU supporters and the team itself are scared of Liverpool but that is a load of bull. I am not a blinkered football fan who believe every other team apart from us are crap. ManU are awesome and they have at this time the best squad of players in the world who are all in good form and scared of no one and a win against them on their patch would be the best result for Liverpool in many a year. Rafa has never managed a win at Old Trafford and we are looking to complete our first double over them in seven seasons whilst United are bidding for a fifth successive home victory over us and that would also give them their best ever Premier League sequence of 12 successive victories. it would also leave them one short of Arsenal’s Premier League record of 13. They are undefeated in 18 at home in a sequence stretching back over a year and need to score one more goal there to become the first club to total 700 home goals in Premier League history. We must remember however that Chelsea had a great home record before we went there this season.

If we do manage a great victory tomorrow it will be our 100th Premier League win under Rafa Benitez. Although the stats above make impressive reading for ManU our lads go into this game having not lost to a fellow ‘Big Four’ club this season; beating Chelsea home and away, Manchester United at home and drawing away to Arsenal. We can only hope that Torres is as fired up as he was on Tuesday night which was one of his best performances to date but he needs to control that agression. I feel sometimes he is playing on the edge and if he does anything silly on Saturday the ManU players and supporters will be straight on to Alan Wiley’s back trying to get him booked and then hopefully, for them, sent off as they know how dangerous he is. We all know that this can happen especially if we remember how Mascherano was treated last season by Steve Bennett.

A lot rests on Masher and Alonso’s shoulders tomorrow to stiffle ManU in midfield but by far the hardest task will be the back four and Reina who must contend with probably Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo. Aurelio and Arbeloa must get to grips with Ronaldo as he switches flanks. Inter let hm hug the touchline on Wednesday night un-marked. I would rather have somebody a lot closer to him when we don’t have possession of the ball. He is at his most dangerous when he gets a run at the defense in and around the box looking for the slightest touch so that he can go down on the hope of getting a free-kick or pen. Prepare to be shouting at the TV screen as he will be up to all sorts tomorrow.

Looking at the ManU squad for tomorrow we see that Edwin Van Der Sar is leading the race for the Barclays Golden Glove with 18 clean sheets. Ronaldo is of course Manchester United’s top Premier League scorer with 12 goals and tomorrow will start his 150th EPL fixture. Paul Scholes in a hat-trick short of 100 goals and Ryan Giggs is the same amount of goals away from 150 for the club.

The Liverpool squad has no such landmarks but Reina is the only remaining player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Liverpool’s Premier League matches this season and Carragher is the only other player to have started all of Liverpool’s Premier League games this term. Steve G is our top Premier League scorer with nine goals and what we would give for one of his specials or in fact a 2 yard tap in tomorrow.

Players Quote’s Of The Week

As it’s ManU tomorrow the quotes of the week has to come from one of their own –

Part A) Interviewer – “Would it be fair to describe you as a volatile player?”

Beckham – “Well I can play in the centre, on the right and occasionally on the left side”.

Part B) ” I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened but I don’t know into what religion yet”.

Part C) “Alex Ferguson is the best manager I’ve ever had at this level. Well he’s the only manager I’be actually had at this level. But he’s the best manager I’ve ever had”

Part D) “My parents have been there for me, ever since I was about 7”

How did we ever come to think that Golden Balls was a bit daft ????