Saturday, March 22, 2008

Manchester United vs Liverpool - can you call it?

Manchester United & Liverpool to face-off in the mother of Easter Sunday clashes

This one is really hard to call. For every reason I think Liverpool can get a result, there's plenty why not coming from the Manchester United team sheet.

Both sides are bang in form, and Manchester United are looking particularly assured in their pursuit of the Premier League title. And who can blame them. It's 'squeaky bum time' as the wily old fox Fergie calls it, and it's not Manchester bums that are squeaking. Arsenal have drawn game after game recently, while Chelsea stumbled to a 4-4 draw after leading 3-1, in a game they really had to win.

Liverpool have bounced back from their FA Cup debacle against Barnsley with seven straight wins, and are looking the best they have since September, when title talk was all the rage. However for me, they still don't quite convince as an attacking force.

Torres and Gerrard apart, Babel is improving but still not convincing. It's clear he only needs a goal to give him a big confidence lift, but he is not in the same league as Ronaldo, Tevez or Rooney. As for Pennant, Benayoun, Kuyt, Kewell and Voronin, need I go on? Kewell has come back from injury looking like the show-pony of old. Someone playing for his future, let alone the badge, wouldn't have been so jolly after the defeat at West Ham. His laughing and overall demanour was a disgrace, given the situation. Of the others, surely only Benayoun should be retained. He's neat and consistent but is not totally top class.

here's not many meaner defences than these two, though United are the freer scoring of the two teams. If Liverpool can hold United in the way they did at Anfield, they may well nick a goal through Torres or Gerrard, to gain something from the game. United looked totally at ease earlier in the season at Anfield, but Liverpool are now a very different beast. They are mean, scoring goals and full of confidence. Moreover Benitez has at last got his three best midfielders on the park all at once. Alonso, Mascherano and Gerrard have not played together anywhere near enough, partly due to Benitez's tinkering (that has killed Liverpool's title challenge), and due to Alonso's injuries.

Footy Focus prediction - it's a gut feeling Liverpool will get something from this, but we just can't call it beyond that!


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