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Liverpool V Man Utd at Anfield : Match Preview
Published : 23 Sep 2012 10:03:09
Liverpool V Man Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Rodgers looking for luck to change Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes luck is due to turn as he prepares for his first taste of the club's most intense rivalry. Rodgers is still waiting for his first Barclays Premier League win as Reds boss having collected just two points from the opening four games. For the club and fans there could be no better time to put that right than when Manchester United visit Anfield on Sunday and Rodgers is convinced his team will soon come good. Rodgers is relishing the occasion and said: "This is a game I have grown up with as the biggest game in British football - Liverpool v Manchester United. "From my time growing up as a child, through my teenage years and right the way through - two massive clubs, iconic clubs worldwide. "To be involved right in the middle of it is wonderful, and it should be a wonderful game. "Our players have been outstanding since I came in here, absolutely first class. "We haven't had the rub of the green in some of the games but every day our spirit is getting better and stronger, the more we get to work with each other. You could see that in the last two games." Liverpool came from behind to claim a draw at Sunderland last weekend before a much-changed side overturned a 3-2 deficit in Switzerland on Thursday to beat Young Boys 5-3 in the Europa League. Rodgers said: "The confidence is fine and I see the players every day, I'm on the field working with them as individuals and as a group and their quality is undoubted." Rodgers made 11 changes in Bern as he rested the likes of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen, Martin Kelly and Jose Reina. Those big names are all likely to come back in to face United but Rodgers felt he learned much from the performance of a largely youthful side against the Swiss. He said: "It was great, a really exciting performance. "The goals we conceded weren't the best and I was disappointed with that but we scored five goals away from home and we introduced some new players to the group. That filled me with great pride." This weekend's game will be highly emotional as the first to be played at Anfield since the publication of an independent panel's findings into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed. A number of tributes of tributes are planned prior to kick-off including the releasing of 96 balloons and the displaying of a mosaic on three sides of the ground. Rodgers said: "It is a great opportunity globally for us to commemorate what has happened. "If we can come out on top across the board, not only Liverpool but football will be the winner, and that is what we are all looking for." Jonny Evans has no doubts the fixture remains one of the highlights of England's football calendar. As a lifelong United fan, growing up in Northern Ireland, Evans never had any doubts who the enemy were. Manchester City's recent rise, coupled with Liverpool's fall from grace, which has accelerated over the past couple of years, has challenged that notion. But, in terms of historical significance, both geographical and success, Liverpool remain the team to beat. "The history of the two clubs makes it one of the biggest games in English football," said Evans. "The distance thing, the Merseyside-Manchester rivalry and all the history that goes with it means it will be no different on Sunday. "You can go through tactics and talk about how many points the teams have this season but it all goes out of the window when it comes to a Manchester United-Liverpool game. There is goodness knows how many years of rivalry to take into account as well." This game is different though. Unwanted chants from United supporters at Old Trafford last weekend have sparked fears of trouble at Anfield. Influential fans groups have already attempted to calm the situation, while United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has also penned a letter that will be distributed to United fans at Anfield before they enter the stadium. The obvious concern is that with sensitivities so high, visiting fans may offend by singing any number of anti-Liverpool chants that have nothing to do with Hillsborough at all. All this and a football match to win as well, with Liverpool desperate to record their first Premier League victory under Brendan Rodgers and United just as keen to end a five-match winless sequence at Anfield. It is expected Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez, whose relationship has a troubled past, will do their part for the occasion by shaking hands in the normal pre-match ritual.