Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand knew a thing or two about beating Liverpool
His last-gasp header in January 2006 compounded the Reds to a gutting 1-0 defeat, and he was at it again nine months later when his thumping strike secured a 2-0 win for United over the Merseyside club.
The Manchester United v Liverpool rivalry will be reignited when the clubs meet for the first time in European competition on Thursday.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
The first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie will be played at Anfield and Ferdinand admitted there is no sweeter feeling for a United player than beating Liverpool in front of the Kop.
“As a United player, going to Anfield and turning them over - well, there is no sweeter feeling in football,” the former England international said, per The Sun.
Article continues below
“You come off that pitch, look at the home supporters and see them dejected. I have done it quite a few times.”
Ferdinand was a winner in four of his nine visits to Anfield during a 12-year spell at United.
Abuse from fans
The teams are the most decorated in England’s football history and, though the days where either competed for a Premier League title are a thing of the past, Ferdinand doesn’t think the intensity of the rivalry has diminished at all.
“Before Liverpool v United games, when you go on the school run, walk down to the shops of go anywhere locally, you are reminded you need to win.
“The importance of those games isn’t lost on anyone involved - and these things go through your head when you play.
“You know you have to walk down the street the next day. So if you lose, you have to take criticism.
“If you handled my Twitter page for a day, leading up to one of those games, you would become quickly aware how volatile it can be with fans. Abuse is part of the game, you just have to accept it.
“If you don’t, you shouldn’t be a footballer.”
Europa League has added importance
Victory in the Europa League will guarantee Champions League football next season. Given that Liverpool or United cannot be certain of a top four finish (Jurgen Klopp’s team are seventh, United are sixth), Ferdinand expects both to do their upmost to win Europe’s lesser tournament.
“Winning the Europa League offers a huge incentive,” the 37-year-old said. “Especially as the two clubs aren’t guaranteed Champions League positions.
“They have to take the competition very seriously. Both sides will want the bragging rights tomorrow night.
“It’s just a pity the game is taking place in the Europa League, not the Champions League.”
Anfield has played host to some memorable European nights in the past, but Manchester United coming to town will take it to a whole new level.