Before we put this upcoming fixture in context, we need to review a result from last night:
Aston Villa 1 - Chelsea 0.
This was for the most part a dour and drab affair, with Villa's back four largely cancelling out Fernando Torres and Willian.
Willian though was given a yellow card in the 25th minute and then a second one for a relatively minor infringement on Villa's Fabian Delph. That second yellow made "The Special One" Jose Mourinho see red and he proceeded to abuse the officials on the sidelines.
In the 82nd minute, Delph further infuriated Mourinho by slotting a goal past keeper Petr Cech with a clever back heel. Mourinho was livid and after the final whistle, marched onto the field to argue with the referee Chris Foy and the two of them were still seen deep in argument as they went down the players' tunnel.
What this does mean is that Chelsea have dropped three points and have showed to the rest of the league that they can be found wanting in defence, for It was not a defender who was given their marching orders but a striker. This means that Chelsea in theory are pregnable (if that's a word).
Man United v Liverpool - what this means.
Arguably the Manchester United v Liverpool fixture is the most intense of any league season; perhaps even more so that Arsenal v Spurs or Everton v Liverpool. This time though, Liverpool will be looking to close the gap on Chelsea because what Chelsea's loss means is that the title race has been swung upon.
Chelsea currently sit on 66 points. Manchester City are on 60 but have three games in hand and potentially could be on 69. Liverpool are on 59 but have two games in hand and potentially could be on 65. This means that the position at the top of the league could swing on just a handful of fixtures and given that Manchester United v Liverpool is one of those, we have a Liverpool side who will be playing out of their skin.
Liverpool have already shown that they are capable of knocking over class sides, having ripped Arsenal to pieces 5-1, Everton 4-0 and Spurs 5-0. The problem is that they've not won at Old Trafford in five years and earlier this season, the result was only decided by a fourth minute goal by Daniel Sturridge. Maybe though, this Liverpool side which is vastly different to the one of five years ago has enough of a whiff of Pal to bite and bite hard.
As a completely biased and one-eyed Liverpool fan, I hope that the score sheet reads the same way as one particular match against Crystal Palace the last time that Liverpool won the title, 9-0. I'm hoping for hat-tricks for both Martin Skrtel and Raheem Sterling (maybe a goal for Simon Mignolet too). By aiming for complete annihilation and humiliation of Manchester United, it would ensure league points and points mean prizes – what do points mean? The junctions on railway lines.
Three points to close the gap on the league leaders are always vitally important; this time round, those three points can come from a long standing rivalry.
Former Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once said that "My greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their ******* perch." The best way to exact revenge is by playing stronger and better. I hope that this season, that the Liver Bird gets right back on the perch and starts squawking a song which has not been heard for almost a quarter of a century.
I tell this by way of aside. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was finally completed in 1830. It might have been Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington the Prime Minister who officially opened the railway on the 15th of September but it was the MP for Liverpool, William Huskisson*, who really stole the show...