In what will be the Reds last match before the 25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, it’s only fitting that they sit top of the table and poised to continue their run of nine-wins on the hop. Win, lose or draw, the atmosphere promises to be something out of this world, and Manchester City — early favorites to reclaim the crown they lost to cross-town rivals United last year — have what’s sure to be their most difficult game of the season ahead of them.
There’s still a lot of football to be played, and with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea on the horizon, there’s still some major hurdles to overcome, but the belief swirling around Brendan Rodgers side is infectious and even the most conservative factions of the Reds support is beginning to let more than just smiles slip out — including yours truly.
While the “Special One” would likely deny to your face that Chelsea are through to the next round of the Champions League and top of the Premiership, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is going to have to fess up to the fact that Liverpool are now serious title contenders. It may be the job of the manager to absorb, or deflect, pressure away from his players, but there’s no longer a chance of hiding it. We can all add – and numbers don’t lie.
From the first whistle, you could feel it in the air; penalties on either side of the half saw Steven Gerrard hand Liverpool a massive lead before Luis Suarez poked home from close range to seal the points. If the Reds had dreams of the league title returning to Anfield going into this fixture, they come out of it with something entirely tangible – a real, honest to goodness shot at bringing it home.
Although Brendan Rodgers side make the short trip to Manchester in an obviously enviable position, the Reds record at the home of their greatest rivals makes for grim reading; we may still chuckle about the 4-1 thrashing dished out back in 2009, but the hosts have had far more of the bounce per ounce over the years. Memories of Rafa staying cool as you’d like as his team dismantled a grossly over confident United still warms the cockles — that is, until you remember that was our only win away to United in eleven visits.
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