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Meet The Opponent – Manchester United

In this new series @LovingLallana and @RobRLFC will be talking to fans of our upcoming opponent. Giving a preview of the expectations from the rest of the football world on a game against Liverpool FC. We change our perspective and identify what is on the opponent’s mind.

On Sunday the Reds will be meeting Manchester United at Anfield. We were lucky to get the chance to speak to Jordan Clarke [@FourFourJordan] and discuss one of the biggest games not only in the Premier League but also in the world.

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“Liverpool looking like Champions”

A general question to start with. What are your expectations on tomorrow’s game?

“In terms of expectations, I’m gathering Mourinho will again turn up to attempt to spoil Liverpool’s party in the same fashion as 2013/2014. With our defensive faults on show for Klopp and Liverpool’s analysts to see, for one game I’m hoping Mourinho doesn’t choose to be too expansive.

Obviously, as a United fan, I’d love a win. It’s desperately needed for our own position in the table, and even more-so with Liverpool looking like Champions. However I can only see us getting a draw at best at Anfield. Of course, I’d love to be wrong though!”

Pogba to be dropped

What does your predicted line up for Manchester United look like?

“De Gea; Dalot, Bailly, Smalling, Young, Matić, Herrera, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku, Rashford.

That’s provided a few with knocks to make themselves available. Choosing Martial is more out of hope for United fans, and Pogba will most likely be dropped by Mourinho to save himself having to worry about his defensive discipline.”

Mourinho looking to set LFC back in winning the title

Do you think the game will be any different in terms of intensity or emotions if United were higher up the table?

“I think any Liverpool vs Manchester United game is huge. The two biggest clubs in England and the world will always create a big event. Since Mourinho’s entrance at United, he’s made sure we don’t get beat more than worrying about the bragging rights. So I think along with league positions, that’s helped the rivalry die down a bit in terms of hype for the fixture.

But yes, I don’t think we’ll see United players screaming in-front of the fans at full-time if we do get a result, because we sit in 6th. So emotion on that side will die down. But Mourinho coming to Anfield again and potentially setting them back in winning the Premier League, like he has done before, would 100% prompt a reaction from him inside Anfield. Similar to the one against Juventus.”

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Bigger things to worry about at United

What makes a game against Liverpool special for a United fan?

“I think the fixture will always be massive to both sets of fans. However, though slightly controversially, it doesn’t mean too much in recent times. Like I mentioned before, as Mourinho goes to not get beaten, the games are no longer classics. The differing of form each season means there’s not been a title race game between the two teams – it’s usually a battle for top four.

No way am I saying it’s just a normal game, but no United fan will be truthful if they say that they’re expecting a win on Sunday.
So it’s hard to be extremely excited, or view it as a special fixture in this current frame of mind. But of course, it means a lot and despite our disappointing season so far, a win over Liverpool to help push them back from the title would always be a big thing. I just feel that there’s bigger things to worry about at United than this one game.”

De Gea over Alisson

What is your ideal combined line up?

“My combined line-up would have to be:

De Gea; Gomez, van Dijk, Lindelof, Robertson, Milner, Pogba, Martial, Mané, Rashford, Salah.

4-2-3-1. Martial on the left, Mané on the right and Rashford through the middle. Pogba and Milner in a two, because although Pogba’s not great in a two, that’s with Matić. Milner’s more mobile and works harder, so perhaps he’s the perfect partner to get the Frenchman in check.

Rashford always plays well in the derby and Martial’s my United Golden Boy so couldn’t leave him out. There’s no way a combined XI could leave Salah and Mané out either!

And no, I’m not hearing Alisson being over De Gea. Ever. Ever. Ever. At least not yet.”

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“He’s the sort of player United are crying for”

If you could pick one Liverpool player to take in your United team in a heartbeat, who would it be and why?

“Before Liverpool’s recent run of games, it would have been Mané all day long. I was wrong for doubting Louis Van Gaal when we showed an interest in him whilst at Southampton, because he’s the sort of player United need out-wide.

However, I’d be clueless to not pick Virgil van Dijk. A centre-half I’ve loved since Southampton and the best defender in the league at this moment in time. It’s also likely De Gea dreams of having the Dutchman in front of him, instead he looks ahead to see Phil Jones. He’s the sort of player United are crying out for and one who is a natural leader, so I’d love to have him at Old Trafford.”

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Work for the fans

If you were Mourinho – what would you tell the team before kick off?

“If I was Mourinho, I’d tell the team to forget the disputes. Forget how much they dislike me, forget the agenda they think I have with them and for ninety minutes… Up their game for those travelling to Anfield and for their own pride.

I blame Mourinho for our problems – along with Woodward – and a lack of structure and solidarity in team selections. No pattern of play or intensity in performances, I see it as lack of coaching from him.

However, they’re capable of upping their recent performances individually by working harder, moving the ball quicker, and that’s what I’d be wanting. Work for the fans today and your own pride as a professional footballer. Put on a good show for yourself and back each other up as a team rather than walking after losing it, misplacing easy passes and throwing your hands up.

I’d want more movement from Lukaku. Not just more running, but moving at the right times. Like when Dalot has the opportunity to cross. I’d want us to stay compact and get tight to Salah without being eased off it. I’d have Lukaku play in the channel in between Clyne and Lovren and demand the best game he’s played in a United shirt.

However, I’m sure Mourinho’s real team-talk will be a lot more conservative and focusing on Liverpool’s threats, rather than the damage we could do ourselves if trusted to do so.

Bianca Boullart
Passionate and proud supporter of Liverpool FC and my idol Adam Lallana, from Cologne, Germany. Love working out, healthy eating and travelling everywhere to see the Reds. Whatever I do in life, I do it with joy, passion, determination and positivity.

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