Liverpool FC: 5 Reasons the Reds Can Defeat Their Manchester Rivals on Saturday
And so we have arrived at yet another North-West Derby. Liverpool and Manchester United, two of the biggest rivals in world sports, face off at Anfield on Saturday, in what will be the 183rd meeting between the clubs
The game, as always, will have plenty of importance to both teams, and will be fiercely contested. Manchester United will be favourites heading into the tie, but many warn that the underdog Liverpool side may be in with a chance to steal the limelight. They are.
Here are five reasons why Liverpool can steal a victory against their Manchester rivals.
5. Anfield Will Be Rocking
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Anfield is typically one of the tougher stadiums for teams to come and play in, and the Kop will be out in full force for the United game. The cheers will rain down on the players, creating an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors and an inspirational one for the home team. The crowd alone could well be enough to force Liverpool through to victory.
Look for Anfield to be on fire as the fans get behind their team right up to the final whistle.
4. Liverpool Have Won the Past Three North West Derbies at Anfield
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Granted, once the players step onto the field history has no importance, but it will be hard for a Liverpool fan not to take recent memory into account in the build up to the game. The Reds have won the past three home ties (2-1) (2-0) (3-1), and head into Saturday's matchup looking for a fourth straight victory. Simply put, you have to take history, and the last three games, as an encouragement.
Liverpool have won 38 of the 78 derbies that have been played at Anfield. They will take that record into the game, and look for the 39th.
3. Nemanja Vidic Is Questionable; No Answer for Luis Suarez?
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It is unclear whether or not Nemanja Vidic is set to return to action for United; reports from the Old Trafford camp are conflicting. If he plays, he admittedly brings a boost to the United team. If he doesn't, they could be in big trouble.
Liverpool will be looking to play through Luis Suarez, and if Vidic is missing Suarez will dominate. With the exception of Rio Ferdinand, United's centre backs (Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling) are inexperienced and it is impossible to say whether or not they will be capable of marking Liverpool's enigmatic striker. He could have a big game.
2. United's Confidence Is Low
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Manchester United's last three games have not been up to their usual standards. After flying out of the gates to start the season, they have had a tough few weeks and are not in their best form for the upcoming fixture.
The first glimpse of any weakness came in the 1-1 draw at Stoke. Though the Britannia is a tough place to play, United never looked threatening and deserved no more than the point. That Tuesday, they were held by Basel to a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford, shocking fans, who had expected a blowout. Last game, they toiled to a 2-0 victory in a game against Norwich. They were at times outplayed by the Premier League minnows.
Their confidence is low after the recent stretch of fixture. Liverpool need to exploit that.
1. Steven Gerrard Will Be Back in the Starting XI
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Fans will argue that this will not have a big effect on the team. It will. The midfield has looked somewhat out of sync through the first seven games of the season. Jordan Henderson, who was signed to be a long term replacement for Gerrard, has not been able to fully carry the burden of the Liverpool captain being missing, and as a result the team has not reached its full potential, neither offensively or defensively. Gerrard's return cannot come soon enough.
We have yet to see a fully fit Liverpool side, but we should see one for the first time on Saturday. Gerrard will be back to pulling the purse strings in midfield, and the likes of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll should benefit from it. His return will also allow Lucas to be more behind-the-ball in his duties, which will benefit the defensive side of the game as well. Look for the Liverpool team to have a coming out party against our esteemed rivals from the North.
Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95