Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have delivered their pre-match verdicts on Manchester United’s crucial Premier League clash with Liverpool.
United host Liverpool on Saturday, with both sides hoping to consolidate their positions in the top four.
United are second, two points ahead of third-placed Liverpool, and if there is a victor at Old Trafford they could well be virtually assured of Champions League qualification for next season.
“I always fancy United at home,” Neville told Sky Sports. “With Liverpool you have to get through that first half an hour, especially at Anfield, where they are a completely different proposition.
“I’ve always thought that for Liverpool away from home they struggled with the size of the pitch, despite them not being hugely different on paper.
“It’s a lot harder for United to play at Anfield and a lot harder for Liverpool to play at Old Trafford, so I fancy United to win.
“The game this year at Anfield, I’ve said it before, a Manchester United v Liverpool game can be a draw, there can be few shots on target because both teams are tactically aware of each other and they are focused and concentrating to win.
“But it can never be boring and it can never lack the intent to win. The game at Anfield this season was unacceptable and bordered on games we’ve seen in recent weeks. Both teams towards the end accepted that a point was the right result, Liverpool stepped off the gas a little bit and United were bang average.
“It cannot be like that. It’s got to be better. Jose Mourinho received a lot of criticism after that game, and rightly so, and to be fair, in the big games since, he has actually changed his formation and tactics to be more attacking.”
Carragher also believes it will “be a good game” at Old Trafford.
“Not many teams win at Old Trafford against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United,” he said. “Manchester City are the only team over the last couple of years. It’s going to be a really tough game but Liverpool are confident.
“I don’t think we’ll see what Chelsea did at Manchester City, Liverpool will not change because they are away from home.
“Mourinho will have some sort of plan to nullify Liverpool and hurt them where he can, so it should be a good game.”