This Saturday's clash between Liverpool and Manchester United is the most eagerly anticipated game of the season so far; you only have to look at the amount of articles written on Bleacher Report to see how much excitement surrounds it.
I've just read an article by Paul Merson on the Sky Sports website, and as usual he doesn't have a very high opinion of the Reds. Two weeks ago he predicted that Rafa's side would come a cropper at Villa Park and end up losing.
He was wrong. We performed slightly better than in previous matches, and despite lacking a cutting edge, we got a point at one of the most difficult grounds in the Premier League against a good Villa sid—with none of our players one hundred percent.
Merson, esteemed ex-football professional that he is (I'm being sarcastic by the way) slated our performance, and predicts that the mighty Manchester United will teach us a lesson or two. Fair enough.
That's how we like it. When Liverpool are firm favourites, we underperform. When we are underdogs, we shine. You only have to look at our performances in both European and domestic cup competitions over the past seven years or so to realise that.
Such determination and tenacity is what is lacking from some of our league performances, however I think Rafa is doing everything he can to change this. The comments from the players and the manager this week prove that they are buoyed for Saturday's showdown.
Gerrard and Torres have been passed fit for this game, however it is doubtful whether either man will start. Even without them, we still have enough quality to grind out a win against the champions.
Keane, Kuyt, Babel, Benayoun, Mascherano, and Alonso are all capable of popping up with a goal. There is also new signing Albert Riera to look out for.
United have Berbatov, Rooney, Fletcher, Tevez, and maybe Scholes. John O'Shea likes to score against us—but thankfully he rarely starts.
This contest is more even than most people think. On Saturday I may be eating my words, but we deserve more respect in the build up to this clash than people are giving us.