Manchester United vs. Liverpool is on Saturday and is one of the biggest, maybe the biggest match of the English Premier League season. It’s also a very important match because these two teams need a win in the most desperate way. Earlier, we wrote about why Manchester United needed to beat Liverpool but right now, here’s why Liverpool needs to beat Manchester United.
Liverpool comes into this game in 7th place, just two points behind Crystal Palace for 2nd and five points behind Manchester City for 1st. They are tied with Manchester United but are behind in goal differential.
Liverpool needs to beat Manchester United because they need to prove that they are a team who can have a competent back line that doesn’t leak goals and also rely on people other than Philippe Coutinho to score goals. Liverpool had three consecutive clean sheets to start the season beating Stoke and Bournemouth 1-0 each and drawing Arsenal in a thrilling 0-0 draw, but then they put out a rather embarrassing defensive performance and granted West Ham three goals. Emre Can and Dejan Lovren in particular had terrible performances that were appalling to the eyes.
Despite the final five minutes of the Stoke game where Coutinho scored a particularly stunning goal, Liverpool has very much played like a team in which the each player had no clue who anyone else was and everyone acted like they met each other five minutes before kickoff. Some of that is warranted because five of the starting XI players (Clyne, Gomez, Milner, Firmino and Benteke) were signed this summer but that was the point of signing these players early in the transfer window. So they can spend the preseason to adjust to Brendan Rodgers’ system and get used to playing with the rest of the players on the team.
That hasn’t looked like the case and now they must play their rival without Coutinho so someone is going to have to figure out how to score goals and quickly. Christian Benteke can do it but considering the midfield couldn’t get the ball to Benteke in the West Ham game, who’s to say that will change against United without Coutinho? Maybe getting Jordan Henderson back can change some of that.
Anyway, Liverpool goes against an equally struggling Manchester United team. At times, United seem to get frustrated rather quickly and like to revert back to a run and cross technique that hardly ever works. Except for having Marouane Fellaini out there, Manchester United is not the kind of team equipped to play that style of game. Liverpool and Manchester United is fighting for a top four spot and it’s likely that one will get in at the expense of the other. Liverpool has seen Manchester United become the more successful team over the past couple decades, this is their chance to hurt Manchester United in more ways than one. They need to not have excuses and just do it. If this team is really a contender for Champions League competition, beat your rival and take some of that success back to Merseyside.