Liverpool v Manchester United: 10 Bold Predictions for FA Cup Grudge Match

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIJanuary 24, 2012

Liverpool v Manchester United: 10 Bold Predictions for FA Cup Grudge Match

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    Luis Suarez will be allowed to return early from his eight-match ban and fire Liverpool to FA Cup glory against Manchester United.

    That's one of many bold predictions one could make about the highly-charged, hotly-anticipated clash at Anfield this weekend.

    Unfortunately that specific prediction is a little too bold to make the cut in this article, but here are ten slightly more realistic, yet still bold, ones that may happen in the 12.45 pm (GMT) kick-off on Saturday.

Andy Carroll Will Score

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    Perhaps somewhat bolder than that Luis Suarez prediction, Andy Carroll will find the net this weekend against Manchester United.

    The 23-year-old striker is in a very well-documented run of poor form for Liverpool, but he scored in the last FA Cup game against Oldham Athletic, and is still one of the best aerially.

    United's defence is a lot weaker aerially with the absence of Nemanja Vidic, and given that Carroll wins 3.6 aerial duels per game, with United's best at the moment being Jonny Evans with 1.6 per match, the out-of-form £35 million could score a big goal this weekend.

Esteban Granero Will Play

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    Yes, Real Madrid player Esteban Granero will line up for Liverpool in this match at the weekend.

    No, Jose Mourinho and Kenny Dalglish are not engaging in a new football team version of 'Wife Swap'.

    Rather, Granero has long been linked with a move to the Reds, and Liverpool are reportedly closing in on a loan deal for the 24-year-old.

    Xabi Alonso has no doubt mentioned to Granero how great Liverpool is, while Dalglish probably wants a new man in pretty quick after the omni-shambles that was the Bolton Wanderers game, and the player himself could be tempted by the promise of first-team football and the chance to play alongside his Spanish-speaking buddies.

    So this prediction could happen.

Steven Gerrard Will Score a Beauty

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    Steven Gerrard seems to have a knack for scoring beautiful goals in big games, and has done so against Manchester United many times before.

    With Liverpool seemingly adopting a small-team mentality this season, they'll probably raise their game against the Red Devils, and captain Gerrard most likely will too.

    Meaning he'll probably fire in a 30-yard screamer.

Martin Skrtel Will Get a Red Card

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    A Liverpool player will most likely get sent-off against Manchester United this weekend.

    But let's make that prediction even bolder and say Martin Skrtel will be the man to take an early bath.

    Charlie Adam is also a contender given he makes the most fouls and has the highest number of red and yellow cards combined in the Liverpool team.

    However, Skrtel also has a red card to his name this season, and statistically is the Reds' most reckless player in the tackle, mainly due to the nature of his role in the team.

Kop to Ruin Patrice Evra's Game

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    Patrice Evra will have a poor game, thanks to all the stick he'll get from the Kop.

    The game promises to be a highly-charged affair with an electric atmosphere zinging around all corners of Anfield.

    But given that Evra is the man who got Liverpool's most important player, Luis Suarez, suspended for a vital chunk of games, his performance will probably be significantly hampered courtesy of the opposing fans.

Danny Welbeck Will Score

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    Danny Welbeck is in a rich vein of form for Manchester United right now, and has scored in his last three matches.

    Not only that, but he's proven himself capable of scoring in the big games under big pressure, netting the winner in the Premier League match against Arsenal at the Emirates, and firing United to success against bitter rivals Manchester City in the last round of the FA Cup.

    Sir Alex Ferguson will probably start him at the weekend, and he's a safe bet to find the net at Anfield.

Wayne Rooney Will Score

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    Wayne Rooney is Manchester United's top-scorer and best performing player this season, and is finally back amongst the goals, having scored six goals in his last eight games.

    He doesn't tend to do too well against Liverpool, but does well against big sides in general when he's in-form.

    He scored twice in the last FA Cup match at Manchester City, and is statistically due a goal having not found the net in his previous two appearances.

Antonio Valencia Will Win Man of the Match

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    Antonio Valencia is in a fantastic run of form for Manchester United right now, having scored, made an assist and won the man of the match award in his last outing against Arsenal.

    And the winger has been consistent with his assists recently, making eight in his last nine matches.

    Liverpool's full-backs don't tend to do well against old-fashioned wing-men, and Valencia is the best there is at the moment in terms of his old-school style on the flanks, so expect him to wreak havoc against an out-of-form Jose Enrique and Reds' defence this weekend.

Anders Lindegaard Will Start

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    Anders Lindegaard will probably start for United at the weekend, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson trusting the big Dane over David De Gea recently.

    De Gea struggled in the Premier League game at Anfield, while Lindegaard has proven himself as much less error-prone and more consistent than De Gea this season.

    Lindegaard doesn't posses the outstanding technical ability young De Gea has, but he's more trustworthy right now and is a safe option in a high-pressure match for United.

Manchester United Will Win 3-2

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    Andy Carroll and Steven Gerrard will score for Liverpool, while Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney and Antonio Valencia will find the net for Manchester United.

    That has the right mixture of logic and boldness about it, and statistically is a likely outcome of the match.

    The odds of that scoreline right now are 33/1, a bet probably worth taking!


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