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Jon Riley 5th Mar 2011 - 14:30

Fergie may be silent but Kenny is singing a new Carroll

Liverpool v Man Utd | Sunday 13:30 - live on Sky Sports 1
Fergie may be silent but Kenny is singing a new Carroll

One of the most passionate rivalries in British football reconvenes on Sunday at Anfield as Liverpool take on Manchester United.

Both teams may co-exist with rivals in their respective cities but ask a Liverpool or Man Utd fan who they most want to beat at the start of the season, and invariably they will say each other. Liverpool share their city with Everton and Man Utd have the ‘noisy neighbours' in Manchester City, but both those derby games lack the same intensity and hatred as when these two famous old clubs venture along the M62 to resume hostilities.

Kenny Dalglish made the point when asked about United overtaking Liverpool's record of league titles , that Liverpool still have the edge as they have won more European Cup titles. When Dalglish originally left his post as Liverpool boss in 1990, he was walking away from a footballing dynasty that he had helped create both as a player and a manager. It would have been unfathomable that the next twenty years would yield such meagre rewards domestically for a club that had dominated England and Europe for so long.

But that is exactly what happened.

Sir Alex Feguson, just Alex Ferguson the last time he faced Dalglish at Anfield, has built his own dynasty, a legacy that has seen United win the Premier League trophy eleven times in twenty seasons. Liverpool fans famously taunted a Manchester United side containing Eric Cantona with the chants of "come back when you've won 18 Eric!" Well not only did they get their eighteenth in 2009 they are now the favourites to win the accolade again this campaign.

Liverpool may not be in the running for domestic silverware this year but their form and their brand of football (barring last week's disappointing defeat at West Ham) has certainly improved since King Kenny's arrival. The pass and move football ( the ‘Anfield Groove' as John Barnes would say) has returned and given a downbeat side a major facelift.

The rivalry on the pitch will be mirrored by that on the touchline. Adversaries as managers for the best part of 25 years, these two Scottish heroes also descend from different ends of the Glasgow tracks. Dalglish wore the hoops of Celtic with distinction before moving south of the border while Ferguson is renowned as a Rangers man. The Man Utd manager grew up in the shadows of Ibrox on the rough streets of Govan and played for the Gers' in his playing days.

The third meeting between these clubs sees United installed as 6/4 favourites despite playing at the intimidating home of their bitter enemies. The Red Devils have already beaten the Reds twice thus far, a 3-2 win in the league and 1-0 in the FA Cup in January. Indeed their recent record at Anfield is quite admirable, although Liverpool have won the last two meetings here against Manchester United, the visitors had drawn one and won five of the previous six.

The hosts are slight underdogs at a price of 15/8 and know they must play far better than they did at Upton Park last weekend if they are to avoid an embarrassing defeat at the hands of United. Before that 3-1 loss Liverpool had gone eight league and cup games uneaten, by far their best run of the season.

The first goal scorer market could be fascinating. Andy Carroll (13/2 first scorer, 15/8 anytime) has trained since Wednesday and could be in line for his debut for his new club. The likelihood is that the £35 million forward will start on the bench with Luis Suarez (11/2 first scorer, 6/4 anytime) a lone forward with Dirk Kuyt (8/1 first scorer, 11/4 anytime) deployed in a support role from the right of midfield.

Ferguson has dropped Dimitar Berbatov (6/1 first scorer, 7/4 anytime) for the last couple of Premier League matches with Javier Hernandez (6/1 first scorer, 7/4 anytime) preferred to partner Wayne Rooney (5/1 first scorer, 5/4 anytime) up front. However, the United manager will remember how Berbatov terrorized the Liverpool defence in the reverse league fixture and completed a hat-trick with an exquisitely executed bicycle kick. To be fair to both Rooney and Hernandez they have both found the net in recent weeks so it will be interesting to see which pairing is utilized.

Any clash involving these two is going to b a feisty affair, but will tempers fray in the cauldron atmosphere of a white hot Anfield? The William Hill Match Winner for this game is for any player to be shown a red card at 2/1.

My recommendation for this game is for United's experience and ingenuity to see them through. I'd back the visitors to win by a score 0f 1-0 at 7/1 in the correct score market.



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