Liverpool vs Manchester United Preview

The final whistle blew, and for the first time in what seemed like years, there was something to cheer about in Liverpool. In a game dictated by Premier League newcomer Luis Suarez and executed by the working class hero Dirk Kuyt, Liverpool bested United on all fronts. The 3-1 victory over United sent a clear message to teams across Europe: King Kenny and Liverpool are back.

That was March 6th, 2011. While Liverpool continues to improve under Dalglish, reality has started to sink into Reds fans. The climb to the upper echelons of European football will be an arduous task. It will take time, determination, unity, and – of course – money. While the 3-1 thumping of United last March was important, the fixture this Saturday is critical in determining Liverpool’s overall progress.

It is critical for the Reds to win the midfield battles in order to dictate the tempo of the game. Charlie Adam and Lucas should be able to best the United midfield, and in turn allow Suarez and Carroll to maintain movement up front. Should Steven Gerrard start, look for him to have a freer role in the center of the pitch.

Saturday’s game will be no easy task for United. Nemanja Vidic is expected to return to the line-up after his recent injury – a decision that can easily backfire given the Serb’s torrid history in this fixture. Also expect Rooney to be slightly off his A-game given his red card in last week’s England game as well as his father getting arrested for suspicious gambling.

The fixture against United has lived up to its hype in recent seasons. While the Reds face a slight uphill battle against the league leaders, expect the Reds to come out fighting. Oh, and the return of their captain Steven Gerrard aint bad either.

Follow Jimmy K on Twitter @Jim_Kostecki

Photo by Athanasius