By Imran Kardar
One of the longest and fiercest rivalries is set to resume for another season this Saturday when Manchester United take on the old enemy Liverpool (read Loserfools) at Old Trafford. Now that’s a nice way to restart the season after the international break! Another big game for United considering they haven’t won their last two in the EPL. If ever United needed to win and respond to the critics it is now! United have been under a lot of scrutiny lately for their style of play, lack of fire power upfront and just recently news has broken that the players aren’t happy with the style of management and training sessions conducted by LVG. Usually when news like this breaks it leads to the manager getting the sack but that won’t be the case here in my opinion. Yes, LVG is rigid, he has an ego, he is known as the Iron Tulip but right now he is the manager United needs. Yes, he wants players to adhere to his philosophy and take up roles in the team and that may lead to players feeling like robots and not football players. But his style has been successful and he has many admirers most recent of which were none other than Xavi and Iniesta who said that he was a manager who was “ahead of his time”. I as a United fan would want LVG to sit down with the players and hear them out. His possession based football is something that the player and we the United fans aren’t all that used to. We are used to explosive football and Van Gaal needs to understand that and incorporate that in his plans.
It’s a bit difficult to predict the team for this game. With the arrival of Anthony Martial the lineup could change. Another big choice for LVG to make is whether to throw De Gea right back in to the team. I would reinstate him straight away. It comes down to picking your best XI for such games and the best keeper United has is DDG. Egos aside, he must start. Till now and kick off LVG will have to settle whatever differences he has with DDG and get him back in the mix. No changes are expected in the defense with Darmian, Smalling, Blind and Shaw expected to lineup. In the middle of the park it should be the Sch-midfield with Bastian and Morgan. Since Carrick has picked up an injury I don’t expect him to be risked for the game, might make the bench though. Up top is where I expect changes. Memphis should retain his spot on the left though he has been poor in the last two United games however, he was very good for Holland in the Euro qualifier vs Turkey. Rooney should be back to his favored No.10 with Mata wide right. That would leave Martial to make his debut up top. What a fixture to make your debut in?! Doesn’t get better than this. This could be Martial’s moment to become a United legend right away by scoring against Liverpool! Anyone remember the brace by Diego Forlan many years ago? Instant stardom.
This is a huge game for both teams especially United because a loss here could be catastrophic. You just cannot lose to Liverpool at Old Trafford. LVG might not be able to survive a loss on Saturday. United must win and they have to play attacking, attractive football! The fans are demanding it and now even the players. Will rigid LVG give in and listen? I have my doubts. My prediction a 1-0 win for United. Glory, Glory, Man United!