You have been waiting for this, havenai??i??t you? You have been waiting for this to happen. As the D-day draws closer, even you are preparing yourself for the match. Friends turn into foes, relationships are forgotten, deadlines are pushed ahead and chores are left unattended. Nothing, absolutely nothing, takes precedence over Liverpool versus Manchester United. There is more than a feeling of anticipation for this fixture. You already sense yourself being there, standing amongst the rival fans waiting for your turn to spew some venom on them and revel in the sadistic pleasure you derive from it.

The rivalry has transcended over several decades now and has come a long way from once existing amongst the industry workers to now creating a sense of antagonism between the respective fans. Today, no Mancunian can stand the sight of a Scouser and vice versa. The red half of Manchester and the red half of Merseyside bleed with hatred for each other and a victory for either side is as good as winning a battle!

For two writers oozing with love for Liverpool and Manchester United to co-exist on the same team is never the easiest thing to do. Our resident authors Nitin Goel and Uday Telkar started the ai???mind gamesai??i?? and war of words days ago. Any topic of conversation eventually trickled down to the big game on Saturday. While the rest of us here at TheHardTackle is getting a good kick out of this, we thought it would only be fair for you to have a slice of the fun too. Here is how the Rival Rendezvous panned out:

UT: The sun is shining bright at OT this season, it seems. Even with minimal purchases made during the transfer window, it looks like Sir Alex has moulded a pretty well knit team there. However, with other teams also strengthening their clout, do you believe there is any such thing as the ai???Big 4ai??i?? anymore?

NG: Although we have not made a marquee signing, we have still spent around 50 million in the summer, but unlike Liverpool I think we have spent it much more wisely. In Jones, Young and De Gea, we have got some young and invaluable talent and they have certainly proved their worth by giving some stellar performances since the start of the season.

As far as the ai???Big 4ai??i?? thing is concerned, I think that it has actually been cut down to ai???Big 3ai??i?? and the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham coming in the second bracket. I know, how desperately you guys are trying to be called in the same league as United, but donai??i??t kid yourself, you guys will be battling for the fourth spot with Arsenal and Tottenham come the end of the season.

UT: King Kenny and Sir Alex go way back and have history of their own and everybody knows that. The story has been laid out pretty well. Kenny returns right at the time when you guys just overtook us to the number 19. Now Dalglish understands the gravity of this situation better than anyone else. So keeping the starting XI aside, how much of a threat is Kenneth Dalglish to you guys?

NG: He is a great manager, there’s no two ways about it and we respect that fact. However, I dont think any of us is losing any sleep over his presence in your dug out. The manager can do as much, but after that it’s the quality of the players and their ability to withstand the magnanimity of the occasion that separates the wheat from the chaff. No doubt, Liverpool are playing much better under him than we have seen for the past so many years, but we know that if we play to our potential, we can handle any set of players.

Which Scot Will Emerge Victorious This Time?

UT: Would handling Suarez & Gerrard be central to your gameplan this Saturday? We all know what Stevie is capable of and what this rivalry means to him. Suarez on the other hand is yet to swallow a lot of the history amongst us. Right now it is all about his trickery and meandering presence on the pitch. How well do you think your defenders will be able to cope with ai???El Pistoleroai??i?? ?

NG: Suarez and Gerrard, if he is fully fit, and starts are undoubtedly match for any opposition on their day. We, very well know, what Captain Starfish can do, and frankly we are all sick of seeing him kiss the camera every time he scores against us. Suarez tore us apart last time at Anfield although we were very much patched up at the back, hopefully Nemanja Vidic will be back in defense and that would certainly help although the Serbian himself has had a torrid time over there lately. Yet, his partnership with Rio is paramount and the duo could help cope with the twin threats from Liverpoolai??i??s side. But that will not be all, as the midfielders will also need to work harder and help their defence unlike, what they have been doing in the opening few games. Itai??i??s high time we put in a performance of note at Anfield , letai??i??s show your lot the champions are in town.

UT: You guys havenai??i??t really enjoyed much success at Anfield in the recent past. Do you think youai??i??re better prepared this time? (Letai??i??s not forget Liverpoolai??i??s growth in strength as you get down to answering this question)

NG: I think it is more to do with us not playing to our potential for the past three years than Liverpoolai??i??s growth in terms of a team. After going on a five year unbeaten run at Anfield, we suffered a setback in 2008/09 season through a Wes Brown own goal and went on to lose that game. Since then we have played two horrendous games at Anfield and deservedly got punished in both of them. Although we have been unlucky on both those occasions with injuries and suspensions at the back, those cannot be served as excuses in a big game such as this. Sir Alex will be more than aware of this fact and will be doing his best to motivate his players to play at their full potential.

UT: Sir Alex has placed much faith in young blood this season and it has evidently paid off. However, the onus is always handed over to the veterans when it comes to facing us. So should we expect the likes of Fletcher, Ferdinand and Giggs to start this game or will someone like Welbeck and Jones be pushed off the cliff?

NG: I believe it will all depend on the tactics used by the manager more than anything else that will decide the players involved in this game. Sir Alex is known to throw the youngsters in the deep end straightaway as they are brought in the first team only if he thinks they are ready to handle the pressure. Already this season, we have seen that the young breed is more than capable of handling pressure as they came back from adversity to topple rivals Man City in the Community Shield. I expect this game to be no different and strongly believe that the best players suited for the game in Fergieai??i??s eyes will play the match.

UT: Youai??i??ve knocked us off our perch for now. But you havenai??i??t finished us. Deep down, do you still think Liverpool FC is still your biggest rival in this quest for glory?

NG: No doubt, Liverpool are still our biggest rivals but not in the quest for glory, not in the near future at least. Your team has been in rebuilding phase ever since Graeme Souness left it in turmoil, but in Dalglish they finally seem to have found the right man to do it successfully. Hence, I think if the owners show their faith in Dalglish, it would not be long before Liverpool breaks back into the so called ai???Big 4ai??i?? and make the league even more exciting than it already is.

Attack is the best form of defense they say. So Nitin decides to go on the counter and fires his set of questions to the Scouser.

NG: So here we are again, for the most anticipated duel of this season, every season. A resurgent pool up against Champions United. Now then, what do you make of your start to the season so far? Disappointed, elated or mixed feelings? Realistically what do you aim to achieve this season, there were murmurs of a title challenge in the Red half of Merseyside, I would like to have some of what those lot were sniffing.

UT: If we are perceived as a resurgent team then we will eventually be walking the path of League winners right? To be honest, I am happy with the team’s performance so far this season. As a Liverpool fan, I know the pain we experienced till our new owners came in and Roy Hodgson left. In a way it is good because we had burdened ourselves to the maximum extent possible. And when you hit rock bottom, there is no other way to go but up! You referring to us as a resurgent side is proof of that.

I will not build castles in the air at this point in time though. Ever since the FSG takeover, things have progressed in a neat and systematic manner and our efforts to rebuild the club are only just beginning. The owners were initially inclined towards bringing a young manager to give us a breath of fresh air; but in Kenny Dalglish, we got a new lease on life. The players cannot stop heaping praise on this great Scot who has again waived his magic wand to bring a bit of Liverpool FC into everyone. So I am confident that the basics are laid out well. The backroom staff has also been boosted with new arrivals. However, our aim this season is to utilize our full strength in every possible way. Breaking into the Champions League bracket has been spoken about as the priority but it is always better to know your strength before laying out your targets. This season is all about knowing how strong we are and how we can build further towards becoming a team that once again becomes a genuine contender in all facets of the game.

NG: Liverpool have spent a buck load of money in the last two transfer window, although you lot as usual would try to justify your extravagance in the market with the net spend and in this case the money recouped from the sale of former Kop favorite Torres. Are you happy with the quality thatai??i??s been added to your squad? As a rival, I havenai??i??t been impressed with your transfer dealings other than Suarez of course and to a certain degree Jose Enrique.

UT: “As usual would try to justify your extravagance” in this context is an exaggeration. If you are pointing at the past then I will have you know that under Rafa, we purchased several players and not several quality players. The only prominent names that crop up in our minds are Luis Garcia, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres. We spent a lot of money back then only because we bought a lot of sub-standard quality into the club. The kind of quality that doesn’t define a Liverpool player. All that however, is part of a past that is no longer spoken about.

I don’t understand this noise created with the amount of money spent over the past two windows. What happened? So we got new owners, a new agenda, we want to get back on track and we spend the money simply because we can, without incurring any sort of further debt. And after years, we are in a position where we don’t HAVE to sell to buy. What is the matter with that? It is just a matter of an owner wanting to see success and making an effort to see that happen. So yes, I am very happy to see the quality that has been brought in. It is not the easiest thing in the world to scout for good wingers who aren’t past their prime as yet and the ones that are available don’t come cheap. So I am not disturbed by the price paid for Downing. Henderson again is someone who hasn’t created waves with his talent but for his age, he is a really good athlete with a good work rate, attitude and flair. He is one for the future and there is no iota of doubt that Kenny will help him find his place in the squad soon.

Carroll’s purchase was a necessity as well as a move that was part of a plan. Liverpool’s striker targets in the previous winter transfer window were the kind who were tall with a good built and who commanded a strong presence on the pitch. Carroll’s transfer happened in the last minute but it is, in no way, a wrong move. Dalglish has seen a pairing like Suarez & Carroll at the club before. He knows what needs to be done. No need for the panic button to be pressed as yet.

I don’t think I really need to say much about Suarez, Adam and Enrique. For the price they have come and the performances they are putting up, it is a steal and I’m glad they are Liverpool players. Infact, your boss was the man who quoted 10 million for Adam’s corners alone. So there are people at our club who also have an eye for talent.

NG: Liverpool were reportedly in for Phil Jones and Ashley Young from what I have heard, but they chose United over the mediocrity of Merseyside, that must have surely ruffled a few feathers. Now that they are doing so well, it must be excruciating to watch.

UT: There is a difference between a club looking to stand up on its feet again and a club which is mediocre. No United fan who is well versed about our rivalry will consider Liverpool FC as mediocre. The taunts and rants will go on and on but you guys know that it is only the present that puts you where you are and puts us where we are. Tomorrow when we rise to power, Sir Alex will be sitting in his office hatching plans to stop his players from joining Liverpool. He has done it in the past and he will continue to do so in the future. I don’t think even he puts Liverpool FC under the mediocrity blanket.

Regarding players like Young and Jones, to be honest, no Liverpool fan took this as a bitter pill. We got past Torres’ departure but we didn’t even get a whiff of regret missing out on Young & Jones. On the contrary, it would be good to see how frail Jones can be if he comes up against Suarez this Saturday.

NG: So Luis Suarez then, he is surely a special ball player and probably one of the most talented around in world football, but he is a bit of a knob and his antics have been coming to the fore more and more. Do you fear heai??i??ll be in for a special treatment by fans, referees and opposition players in general, his reputation now precedes him? Also, if Liverpool fails to win silverware and Champions league qualification eludes you lot, how long can you hope to keep your prized asset on these shores?

UT: Liverpool FC’s situation wasn’t embellished when we approached Suarez. He knew what we went through and was well informed on what our plans for the future are. There is no second opinion about his quality and what he can produce on the pitch. Surely! However, if you have noticed the club’s performances ever since Dalglish came in, you will see that the emphasis is swiftly shifting towards playing and producing as a team and not as an individual. No longer are we dependent on Gerrard to pull us out of trouble, no longer are we giving up hope if we see a defensive 4-4-2 instead of a 4-2-3-1. Playing together makes everyone a match winner and that is where we are moving. Suarez is definitely central to this plan simply because he is that good.

As I mentioned before, Champions League is of course a priority for the club this season. But we aren’t sitting here and making contingency plans. We are sitting and thinking about how to win the next game. Suarez shares that hunger. He just wants to play, play and play more. He wants to be involved as much as possible and wants to score in every game. He has already mentioned that one of his targets for this season is to become the highest scorer. This is the good disease that is spreading through the team. You will get to see it yourself soon.

I’m sure you agree with me when I say a team can have more than one great player and a team of greats is built and not bought.

NG: Now on to the match, firstly what do you make of Unitedai??i??s start to the season and your unbiased views if possible on our new acquisitions? Where do you think the game will be won and lost, surely for United, Suarez is the man to watch and oddly enough Lucas has always reserved his absolute best in these duels? From the Liverpool point of view any area of weakness that you think we could look to exploit?

UT: To be fair to the red half of Manchester, I think you guys have started the season with a gusto and it hasn’t faded away at all. I am very excited about this because this provides for the perfect setup when you visit Anfield. Chelsea and Manchester City are working hard to catch up which makes it a very enticing contest. Surely we are in for a joy ride this season!

I am surprised that Young wasn’t picked by a big club while he was at Watford. He has surely bolstered the wings for United and is one of those players who are dangerous from set pieces. Chicarito might just be scoring more headers this season if the former Villan is consistent in his delivery. Jones is a bright talent and at 18, is a rising star in English football. No wonder both our clubs locked horns over his signature. But I think he will be a much better player next season than this one.

Coming to Saturday’s game, I think it is most important that Sir Alex picks the correct central defensive pairing – this is the most important factor that can decide in whose favour the game will be. Fielding Evans or Jones will be a gamble because Suarez has given defenders with far better quality a torrid time. Gerrard makes his return for us and will be starting his first league game of the season. So if Anderson is playing alongside Cleverly, then he better to do good job because Gerrard has been waiting for this moment for a long time now. He will be everywhere till the final whistle blows.

For us, the presence of Carra could prove to be a wee bit risky. He has recently confessed of his age slowly casting a shadow over his game. This conscious feeling pushes him harder now than before. This is where it could go wrong. Carra has already given away two penalties so far this season. Tripping Rooney or Chicarito would be the last thing I’d want to see.

NG: This is the first time United are coming to Anfield after winning the coveted 19th title. You lot have put on a brave face and conveniently shifted the perch from 18 to 5 but surely deep down it must be hurting a lot? Perhaps its easier for you guys, now that the burden is gone and you can finally think about your team rather than counting our titles begrudgingly.

UT: Funnily enough, we had nothing much to say when you all won the 19th. I’m pretty sure you must have read the responses. So we have already moved on and are way ahead of you when you say we must think about the team and not about the number of titles you have won. Believe me, for us the goal has never been to have more number of titles than Manchester United. It has only been about being the best. It doesn’t really matter who comes a close second. On the contrary, it was Sir Alex’s goal to catch up with Liverpool when he first joined United. It looks like this obsession was, is and always be a part of his life.

The game on Saturday promises to be a cracker no doubt. Between Nitin and Uday, who gets the last laugh remains to be seen. Liverpool versus Manchester United! 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10 Responses to “Liverpool v Manchester United ai??i?? Rival Rendezvous: The Red Rivalry Returns to Anfield”

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  1. Deepak says:

    i don’t think that manu plays less than their potential at Anfield.Its actually because Liverpool plays more than their potential against manu.

  2. deepak says:

    i don’t think that manu plays less than their potential at Anfield.It’s actually that Liverpool plays more than their potential against manu.

  3. redoldmonk says:

    why are all liverpool fans alike? going on and on…dont you guys know it makes you look defensive and stupid! phew!

  4. Daniel Hambadja says:

    watching this game Man U vs Liverpool will be a fantacy game to me. lets wait for the outcome. the best team wins

  5. Deepak P says:

    Good article…
    Quite an arrogance..the mancunian haah…
    come this saturday and we’ll punish u..
    ~ynwa

  6. Nandan says:

    Uday – Sir Alex never had any obsession regarding catching up with Liverpool..It was more like an open gauntlet thrown at Liverpool FC! Isn’t it?? And he achieved it without any fight from you guys whatsoever!..What ‘obsession for life’ an all you saying bro 😛 Take a chill pill :)

  7. Shyam says:

    Kudos Nitin and Uday for this excellent article. It surely is a fantastic read. @Nitin: special thanks to you for those cold-sarcastic questions especially the last one 😛 GGMU!

    @THT: keep up the good work, please keep such articles coming.

  8. Uday says:

    @Nandan: You surely haven’t read enough history between the two when Ferguson just took over. Please go back and see what was the first thing on his mind when he took over as Manchester United :)

  9. Nandan says:

    The first thing was to knock them off bro..not catch up 😛
    Anyways, the article is simply fantastic :)

  10. Nandan says:

    His aim was to dethrone LFC off their perch and not catch up :)..Anyways,,this article is ‘balle-balle’..Good job!