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Smalling on United duties last season..

Chris Smalling reveals how Manchester United prepare for Liverpool games

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It’s almost time. Football fans across the country are itching for what promises to be one of the games of the season as Manchester United and Liverpool lock horns at Anfield.

Not only is it one of the Premier League’s most renowned fixtures, but this season sees it a clash between title challengers. Moreover, with the entertaining Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho at the helms, it’s all set to be a classic.

Ahead of the game, Chris Smalling has spoken out on the fierce rivalry and has been keen to reiterate its importance. In fact, he’s even offered an insight into how new signings are prepared for such blockbuster clashes.

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History

So, what’s all the fuss about?

The bottom line remains that Manchester United and Liverpool are England’s most and second most successful teams in history. After all, they wield 38 league titles, 19 FA Cups and eight European Cups cumulatively.

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While the two haven’t locked horns over the title for over a decade now, showdowns between the pair have never lost their edge.

Although the clash isn’t strictly a derby, it has the nature of one and then some.

This year in particular though, promises to be one of the finest and most meaningful face-offs between the Reds and Red Devils.

Both sides possess world class managers, have spent big this summer and started their seasons in promising form. Simply put, you’d be hard pressed to contest the title claims of United and Liverpool.

Prestige

Consequently, ahead of a match being dubbed ‘Red Monday’ by Sky Sports, both squads will likely be subject to nervous excitement. It may only be October, but it’s apparent that a lot is already on the line.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-LIVERPOOL

For a handful of Manchester United players though, it will prove an unfamiliar atmosphere. Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and even Marcus Rashford could all be experiencing their first Anfield trip.

In light of this, according to Chris Smalling, it is important that new signings and upcoming stars understand the magnitude and prestige of the fixture.

As per ESPN, the England defender explained: “When I first joined up here, they all mentioned that obviously you know about [Manchester] City and United, but with Liverpool this is the one.

“With the way the rivalry has brewed over the years, because it's been so competitive, it was stressed to me, and especially the new lads now, how important this fixture is."

Form

Nevertheless, the Red Devils enter the game with impressive recent form over the Merseysiders.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

For all of Louis van Gaal’s faults as United boss, he won all four of his league meetings with Liverpool. In fact, April 2014 was the last time the Reds ran away victorious, but then again, they were only facing David Moyes.

Despite this dominance though, Smalling has been sure to temper expectations and reiterate what Liverpool have to offer. The 26-year-old explained: "They have always been tough games.

"I think even in the last [Premier League] one [in January when United won 1-0 at Anfield], they probably played far better than us but we took our chance.

"We know they're a high-pressing team and we're not going to get much time on the ball, so we need to be prepared for that. If you don't move it on, you're going to get tackled. It's a very difficult job for us midfielders and defenders to make sure we dictate the play."

No matter how United prepare though, a trip to the freely scoring Liverpool appears a formidable challenge. Furthermore, as far as Monday Night Football goes, it doesn’t get much better than this.

FBL-EUR-C3-MAN UTD-LIVERPOOL

You’d be a fool to miss it!

Who do you think will take three points from 'Red Monday'? Have YOUR say in the comment box below

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Topics:
Steven Gerrard
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Liverpool
Jose Mourinho

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