Manchester United face Liverpool this weekend in one of global football’s most enduring rivalries and, as ever, there is far more than pride at stake for each team.
Three points for Liverpool at Old Trafford can reinforce their position as genuine contenders for the Premier League title, with the Reds having ascended into second position, ahead of Arsenal by virtue of goal difference.
Manchester United may have already relinquished the trophy they won last season, and their focus has now moved to secure a place in the coveted top four positions. Victory against Liverpool would go some way to achieving that for David Moyes’ side.
There is, of course, also the added incentive for Manchester United to quash any title ambitions Liverpool may have and, in doing so, remain on top of the English football perch to which they have climbed, with 20 league championships to the 18 won by their greatest of rivals.
This rivalry is one that means more to Wayne Rooney than most, with the born and bred Evertonian having been in direct competition with Liverpool for much of his life.
Rooney has been fortunate enough to perform to distinction against Liverpool on a number of occasions and, before the latest instalment of this historic encounter, the Manchester United striker has relived with GiveMeSport some of his finest moments.
Speaking on behalf of his official Facebook page, which just reached a landmark 17 million fans, Rooney also has some complimentary words for Liverpool’s imperious attacking unit, although he is confident of his side’s chances of achieving the result they desire on Sunday.
What are your best memories of playing against Liverpool?
The first one that springs to mind is probably my first goal against Liverpool for Manchester United. It was at Anfield in 2005 and I remember being about 25 yards out and deciding to have a shot and it went in the bottom corner past Jerzy Dudek. I had been getting a bit of stick from the Liverpool fans so it made it feel that little bit better. The next best memory would probably be my double against Liverpool a couple of years ago at Old Trafford, we went on to win the game 2-1.
In terms of football rivalries, where do you rank Manchester United vs Liverpool?
There’s no doubt that this is one of the biggest rivalries in world football. They are two massive clubs who have competed against each other for years and both have been very successful. The two cities are close to each other and both clubs have a massive following with brilliant fans. It has all the ingredients for a great game of football for all football fans.
The atmosphere is always massive at a Manchester United v Liverpool match; do you expect it to be the same on Sunday?
Yes of course, both sets of fans love this fixture and the atmosphere at these games is always special. This hasn’t been the best season for us so far but our fans have still been brilliant and stuck by us so I would like to thank them for that. It gives the team a massive lift when the fans are behind you and in full voice and I’m sure that will be the case on Sunday.
Liverpool have been in great form this season, what has impressed you most about them and how can you and the team deal with their qualities?
Liverpool have been brilliant this season and it’s probably their attacking qualities that has impressed me most. Suarez and Sturridge are the Premier League’s top scorers and have formed a great partnership, but they also have a lot of other players in good form like Sterling, Henderson and Steven Gerrard. They have been dangerous on the counter attack this season so that’s certainly one thing we need to be prepared for and we will need to be tight at the back. We just need to play the football we know we can and I’m sure we can get a positive result.
©Wayne Rooney Official Facebook page/GiveMeSport