At 1.30pm today the most important match of the current season begins. Not only this, it also features heavily in the history books as a tie of absolute importance.
Manchester United and Liverpool are tied on top division triumphs, each with eighteen credits to their name.
The Anfield outfit will therefore head to Old Trafford in an attempt to deter their long term rivals from overtaking them for the first time in the modern era.
The meeting itself though has many other facets. Liverpool must win or at least claim a draw for alternate reasons. They need to keep their fourth place bid alive, and defeat would put them in an uncomfortable position for the remaining games.
After Tottenham defeated Stoke yesterday a loss for Liverpool would leave them four points shy of Spurs having played a game more.
Manchester United will need to win as well, in order to reclaim their lead in the title fight. Arsenal have reignited their campaign with a highly credible run of form which has elevated them back into the race.
Today’s match will additionally have a knock on effect on the accompanying two further games in the Premiership later on. Repercussions surrounding the result will be felt for all teams involved in the title and fourth placed competition.
Chelsea can capitalise on a United defeat if they can return glorious from their away trip to Blackburn.
Manchester City could also force Liverpool further down the pecking order once more if they can achieve victory at Fulham.
All three of today’s matches are quite unpredictable, which will add to the nerves for all invested. Fulham however may provide the greatest challenge to a possible undoing of Liverpool after their inspirational week and triumph in the Europa League.
As a Liverpool fan I always fear fixtures against United. Wayne Rooney is electric in form, and may easily portray weaknesses in Liverpool’s defence if he successfully breaks through.
Fernando Torres is back from injury though, so hopefully he can counter the revelations that Rooney may continue. Torres has after all still scored 17 goals this season which proves him no slouch as a return from 27 games.
Recent form dictates that United will be more accomplished after not conceding in their last three matches. Liverpool have not managed a win in either of their three previous away games as well.
One relished prospect is for Liverpool to take a fourth straight win over United. United will look to halt this occurrence as Liverpool are the only team to have achieved this feat since the Premierships birth.
Darren Fletcher has insisted as a consequence that his team must not rest on their laurels against a team that lack consistency, as Liverpool seem to bring out all the stops when they meet United.
So a win for Liverpool, in making it only the second event of four consecutive Premier League defeats would undermine the claim for United to overcome Liverpool’s equal tally of top flight titles.
In the grand scheme of things a defeat for Liverpool would prove more costly as they would face more ground to make up against their closest competition. United on the other hand would be just one point shy of Arsenal, and level with Chelsea if the blues triumph at Blackburn.
After today's match we will all know whether the history books will be rewritten, or whether Liverpool can salvage more substantial opportunities in future seasons.
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