The flawless Micahel Carrick has been Manchester United's most consistent player for years now. He's been there and done it all in the famous red shirt, and nothing seems to faze him as he continues to manage his hero status within the club's ranks with ease.
"The only problem Michael Carrick gives United boss Louis van Gaal is that there is only one of him - at the moment Van Gaal would probably love to play him at the back and in midfield too."
These were the words of former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann, who hailed Carrick after his sublime performance against Brendan Rodgers' side earlier on in the campaign.
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Back in December, we all know what occurred at the Theatre of Dreams: United enjoyed their best day yet under the Louis van Gaal regime as they secured a crucial 3-0 victory over the great rivals.
On that day, the attacking superstars of Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie all found the back of the net for United, while goalkeeper David de Gea was hailed for his part between the sticks, but once again it was Carrick who went about proving his class in a different way.
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The perfect job
Forget the headlines, Carrick does the simple jobs with perfection. He's the calming influence that every team is in need of and he's certainly the kind of influence a team need in what's set to be the biggest showdown of the season.
It's clear for all to see, his presence in the side puts his teammates at ease - he gives everyone around him that added confidence.
Another key role
That's why - once again - he will play a huge role at Anfield this coming weekend. Against Tottenham last Sunday, as United produced their best performance since that game with Liverpool, Carrick was instrumental in the proceedings.
A creator of the first goal and a scorer of the second, the veteran was a class act all day long as protected the club's back-four, while proving a threat in the attacking department of the pitch.
There's no doubt about it, as he prepares to come up against the in-form Jordan Henderson this weekend, he will have his work cut out, but Carrick has the experience and quality to handle the entire occasion.
Over the years, we've seen Keane vs Gerrard and Scholes vs Hamann, but this weekend's battle will be one between two players at the very top of their games.
If only Carrick had stayed fit all season long, things may be slightly different for Van Gaal's men; this upcoming fixture with Liverpool may not have been so crucial for the race to secure Champions League qualification.
If Carrick performs, then more often than not, so do United. Wayne Rooney may well be the leader of this team under Louis van Gaal, but the club's vice-captain is arguably just as important.
The team that rises to the occasion, but manages to keep their cool, may walk away from Anfield as a victor on Sunday, and with Carrick in the Manchester United ranks, Van Gaal's side have a great chance of doing just that.
Manchester United fans: Do you agree? Will Carrick prove key this weekend? Have your say in the comments section below!
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