After beating Manchester City away, in round three, United were given another difficult away fixture when the draw saw them paired with arch-rivals Liverpool. In a strange quirk of fate, Liverpool knocked our noisy-neighbours out of the Carling Cup in midweek and are now looking to complete a unique Manchester double. They can but wish!
What happened at Old Trafford, in our last encounter, when Suarez was brought to justice over racist comments made towards Patrice Evra, has provided an unwelcome backdrop to this glamorous tie.
Hopefully, what will be remembered form this tie is some sparkling football, something the opposition captain, Steven Gerrard, has spoken about in the press, commenting,
“We all have a responsibility to ensure the game is remembered for the football. Liverpool and Manchester United is a massive rivalry and there is going to be stuff in the newspapers and banter between fans.”
“But it would be fantastic if it is remembered for being a top game and, from our point of view, a Liverpool win.”
“We don`t want any front page stories from this game or any stories that are not about a football match between two top sides – and may the best team win.”
As long as it is us of course.
From the United camp, Wayne Rooney has stepped forward and spoken about this time of the season belonging to United, remarking in the press,
“We relish this part of the season.”
“Once we get into the New Year we can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Every game is massive and we don`t want to be dropping points or losing games. I always feel we are at or best around now because we can see the end of the season and that there are trophies to be won.”
“That`s why we stay focused and, more often than not, we`re always there at the end.”
All we can hope is that come that final whistle we`re the ones in the hat for the fifth round draw.
Liverpool Team News:
Player to watch: Steven Gerrard
Liverpool`s favourite current son has struggled to make an impact this season having been hampered by injuries. But he`s back now and Kenny Dalglish will be looking towards the Scouse icon to help drag his side into the 5th round of the FA Cup just days after reaching the Carling Cup Final.
United Team News:
Any tendency to possibly rotate the squad has gone out of the window with the lengthening injury list we currently have. A worse possible case scenario would see us definitely without Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher and Nani with those rated as doubtful – Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney also missing out. The injuries make it a tough selection for Sir Alex and the gaffer may need some of his fringe players to pull us through this one.
Player to watch: Danny Welbeck
Rumoured to be ready to put pen-to-paper on a new deal, Anfield could be just the stage for the young forward to showcase his talents.
Match Facts & Stats
The two sides have met 10 times in the FA Cup and United have come out on top on 7 occasions including the two Wembley Finals of 1977 and 1996.
Martin Atkinson should have been the man in charge but illness has forced him to pull out. We await news of his replacement.
Anfield, whatever form Liverpool might be in, is always a tricky place for United to visit. The rivalry between two of England`s most famous clubs is something that has manifested itself over the years with the icing on the cake being last year when United established a new record, of 19, top flight title wins.
The Kop will be doing their best, tomorrow, to unsettle us but you get the impression United love going to Anfield. Sir Alex may well look towards the experience of Scholes and Giggs to assist the youngsters in our quest to reach round five.
We reckon it`ll be a close game but we have to believe, we have to keep the faith and go with a United win, 2-0 to the Red Devils!
In midweek we take on Stoke City, on Tuesday 31st January, at Old Trafford.