As Manchester United welcome arch-rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford for the Saturday evening kick-off, both managers will see it as an opportunity to steal a march on the other in the race to the top of the league.
Stuttering starts will be a distant memory should three points be won – yet for the losing manager, a defeat would signify real problems in a game which is always worth more than three points; especially to the fans.
Whilst gunning for the title might be a touch optimistic for both sides, it is not completely out of the question; with the likes of reigning champions Chelsea and pre-season title favourites Arsenal both making slow starts to their own campaign respectively.
Early season pace setters Manchester City look like the team to beat at this stage – however, a good start doesn’t always end in glory, as it has been proven over the years by United themselves.
Ahead of the big game, The Faithful’s Nathon Woodhead takes a look at five wonderful moments from previous Premier League encounters between these two giants of the football world.
1 The Great Dane
United were homing in on their first title triumph in 26 years but a tough trip to Liverpool looked as though it could derail their season; and having lost their nerve the previous year, many were expecting the same thing to happen.
United went on to win 2-1 in Liverpool’s back yard, but it was the heroics of Peter Schmeichel which won the three points making an unbelievable save from a Don Hutchison shot.
Schmeichel went on to make a few more great saves in his career but this one was up there with the best of them.
2 The King Returns
Following his eight month ban and flirtation with retirement from the beautiful game, Eric Cantona made his comeback against Liverpool in a hugely anticipated fixture.
The game delivered an exciting 2-2 encounter; but it was all about King Eric, who set up United’s opener and scored a late equaliser from the spot.
A truly magnifique return for an exceptional talent.
3 Unlikely Late Hero
The mid 00’s will always be known as a testing time for Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson took on another rebuilding project with his squad.
Known as the Djemba-Djemba years, there was little in the way of silverware or success compared to the glory years of the 90’s, however beating an arch-rival with a last minute goal is always something to rally the troops and keep the fans happy.
RIO, RIO, RIO.
- How Can You Top Nutmegging Figo?
For any young defender, playing against the world’s best players is a true honour – so when John O’Shea nutmegged Figo, he probably thought that was the pinnacle of his career. Wrong.
It was 2007 and after some dismal years United had found themselves back in contention to wrestle the title back from Chelsea.
With Paul Scholes sent off and United playing with ten men – a late winner was unlikely until the big man found himself in the right place at the right time.
As Gary Neville said to him afterwards – “You have just lived out my fantasy”.
- The De Gea Show
It is strange to think that De Gea stole the show in a 3-0 United win, bit this really was the case as the score flattered Louis Van Gaals men.
It almost became personal battles; initially with Raheem Sterling and later with Mario Balotelli.
De Gea kept a clean sheet and demonstrated what a wonderful goalkeeper he is. Without him, the season could have been hideous.
Here’s to hoping he starts this weekend….
And a special mention goes to…..
Diego Forlan. At times he found life at Old Trafford very tough – but the striker will go down in history for his Anfield double.
What were your favourite moments? Contact me on Twitter @NathonW