That’s the million dollar question on every United fan’s mind as we build up to “The Game” of the season, against our arch rivals Liverpool. Yes, you heard me right, this is way bigger than the Manchester derby!
This rivalry goes way back and is not something that can be put simply into words. It is this weird feeling that gets under your skin and deep into your bones. It’s like how Arsenal fans are with Spurs fans but multiplied by a hundred, wait no, a thousand, ten thousand, you get my point.
This deep rooted rivalry, also known as the North West Derby, is one of the most famous inter-city rivalry in the world of modern football. It is right up there with the Old Firm derby in Scotland (Celtic vs Glasgow), as well as the El Clasico in Spain (Barcelona vs Real Madrid).
It’s that game where players get pumped up way before the fixture comes along and the entire stadium buzzes with an electric atmosphere that is different from other games. New comers to the team struggle to comprehend why this is so and they often get a baptism of fire once the game gets underway.
Despite the intense rivalry, there have been players who have played for both teams during their careers, namely Paul Ince, Michael Owen and Peter Beardsley, although they played for other clubs between their Liverpool and Manchester United stints. The last player to move directly between the two clubs was Phil Chisnall in 1964.
A recent fond memory of United fans was the sight of Anthony Martial scoring on his debut against Liverpool at Old Trafford during the 2015/16 season. The red devils went on to win the game 3-1.
A lot has changed since then with Louis Van Gaal long gone. Jose Mourinho is now in charge and his managerial style can sometimes be stifling for attack-minded players, as experienced first-hand by Henrik Mkhitaryan, who is now plying his trade at Arsenal. Perhaps that is also why we have not yet seen the best of Alexis Sanchez.
Jose tends to tread on the cautious side of the fence and does not like to take unnecessary risks, especially against top six opponents. Parking the bus, even in home games, has been a norm and there is a high chance he could do so again for the visit of Jurgen Klopp and company on Saturday.
The Liverpool attacking trio of Salah, Mane and Firmino have been nothing short of breath-taking when they are on song. Therefore, it could be a case of Jose setting United up to sit back, soak up the pressure, and then hit Liverpool on the break. The United defence may be lacking but we have the best goalkeeper on the planet in David De Gea!
This tactic could swing either way; United could either grab a precious goal on the counter, and build from there or Liverpool may score early and render the Jose “bus” obsolete.
Regardless, the red devils will look back at recent games and take heart that they have come back from losing positions against both Chelsea and Crystal Palace to take all three points.
However, the good vibes can all but disappear in the blink of an eye if they do not get a result against their bitterest rivals.
Gary Yang is a myActiveSG Editor and Presenter. Gary started his career as a suit cum copywriter at an advertising agency, followed by a successful stint in Corporate Communications with Singapore Press Holdings and Asia Pacific Breweries, before eventually joining the editorial team at Sport Singapore. He now turns his attention to fitness and wellness headlines and sniffing out news angles in the sporting arena.