Sunday brings one of the most hotly contested Premier League fixtures: Manchester United vs. Liverpool. The reverse fixture, played in September, saw Liverpool trot out 1-0 winners, courtesy of an early goal from Daniel Sturridge.
Little has changed in the past six months. The Merseyside club are currently in second place, seven points off first and eleven points above United. They’ve yet to lose in the league this calendar year, winning seven and drawing two (apparently the Reds don’t enjoy playing clubs from the West Midlands). Oh, and they’ve knocked in 29 goals in those nine matches.
Then there’s Manchester United. The title-holders are currently in sixth, nine points below Manchester City in fourth, although their city rivals have two games in hand. But United have gone six games unbeaten, and after winning their last two matches with a combined 5-0 scoreline, it looks as though they’ve finally got things figured out.
So who’s the favorite for the clash at Old Trafford? Interestingly enough, both managers are reluctant to claim that title.
Brendan Rodgers stated that it would be dangerous to think that his side were the superior team. The Liverpool manager said, “Manchester United] are still the champions and until that changes all we can do is go there and look where we are at. We are second in the league on merit. We have performed consistently for a long period of time and that makes us a very dangerous opponent. We know we are dangerous but I would never disrespect them and what they have done over a long period of time.”
When asked whether Liverpool were the favorites in Sunday’s clash, David Moyes replied, “It may well be. Their league position suggests they’re ahead of us. They possibly do come here favourites.”
But the United manager just couldn’t resist having a little dig at Rodgers’ side. Moyes went on to suggest that Liverpool’s strength this season was aided by an easy fixture list early on, as well as the fact that they had no European games to deal with.
Moyes said, “Liverpool and Brendan might have benefited from being out of Europe. Certainly this year we think it’s been a big benefit. I think Liverpool were an improving side last year. A lot of people questioned it but I always felt they would be there or thereabouts. Their fixture list … gave them a great opportunity to start the season well. They’ve grown in confidence from that.”