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David Thompson 27th Jan 2012 - 13:04

Will rivalry boil over in World's oldest cup competition?


Liverpool v Manchester United

FA Cup Fourth Round

Saturday 12:45 - live on ITV1

Match betting: Liverpool 6/4 Draw 2/1 Manchester United 19/10

Just last weekend Manchester got one up on their North London rivals in what was billed as retribution Sunday. Mario Balotelli scored an injury-time penalty to dampen talk of a Spurs title bid, whilst United punished Arsene Wenger's lack-lustre side at the Emirates. This week Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool are in the process of pulling off an unlikely double of their own. Wednesday night saw them knock the league leaders out of the Carling Cup to set up a Wembley final with Cardiff City and this Saturday they will welcome Sir Alex Ferguson and company for the FA Cup fourth round.

In the build up to this weekend's fixtures all talk has centered on possible crowd trouble. This is the first time that these teams have faced off since Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Patrice Evra in their 1-1 draw back in October and the FA and local police are concerned with how fans will react.

Everyone involved including Sir Alex himself have urged fans to create a great atmosphere but not to let a great football rivalry boil over into hatred.  Liverpool's Carling Cup success highlighted how far Liverpool have come since Steven Gerard has re-entered the fray. He has given Kenny Dalglish the drive and determination which has inspired those around him. He may not have solved Liverpool's inconsistency, losing to Bolton and drawing with Stoke in the Premier League, but he has given them an edge in the big games.

What might play on the Liverpool manager's mind is that his side will be playing their third game in seven days, and although Steven Gerard has rubbished rumours of Liverpool being tired, Sir Alex is sure to pick a pacey side that will set up with the intention of stretching The Reds at Anfield.

With that in mind the 19/10 available on Manchester United looks massive value and should be the stand out bet. The Match Winner could also interest those who think tensions will boil over. England team-mates Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerard have been known to have a temper in the past. If you fancy the Man Utd number 10 to get on the scoresheet and then get booked we will offer you odds of 7/1, originally 5/1. For Stevie G to get carried away and do the same will be on offer at 10/1 enhanced from 6/1.

It's hard to know what will be on the back pages of the papers come Sunday, but let us hope that the main story centers on a hard fought FA Cup fourth round battle between the two most successful team in English football. The British players are for me the ones to look out for, so take your pick from Bellamy (7/4), Gerard (2/1), Adam (5/1), Rooney (6/5) and Welbeck (7/4) to get on the scoresheet anytime.




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