Sunday’s defeat at West Ham has provided the Liverpool with a reality check of sorts.
While there is no doubt performances have improved under Kenny Dalglish, Sunday was like any other defeat they have faced away from home this season. As a result, the reds are now 11 points behind Chelsea in fourth and eight behind Tottenham in fifth with both sides having a game in hand. It is safe to say that any hopes of a top four finish are over for another year.
Despite this setback, it is more important than ever that Liverpool defeat Manchester United this weekend. Although the old enemies aren’t as close as they used to be in the league table, the great rivalry these clubs share is as fierce as ever.
With both clubs locked on 18 league titles apiece, United can surpass a record that many Liverpool fans thought was safe 20 years ago. But times change and Alex Ferguson’s side have dominated English football since, winning 11 titles without reply.
However, this is not the only reason Liverpool must win on Sunday. After defeat at West Ham, it is important Dalglish’s side bounce back and regain the momentum that saw them defeat Chelsea and go six games unbeaten in the process.
The possible addition of Andy Carroll to the squad has whetted the appetite of many fans, while the absence of key defenders Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have kopites believing that victory is possible against a side missing key players.
Regardless of United absences, it is imperative that every Liverpool player turns in a performance of the highest standard and the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher should know more than anyone else what victory means to the club and to supporters.
A great atmosphere from the home fans is guaranteed for Sunday. But will the players deliver?