David De Gea will surely be back in goal when Manchester United take on Liverpool at Old Trafford
If a week is a long time in football, two weeks feels like a lifetime. Manchester United’s unbeaten start to the season came crashing down at the Liberty Stadium when Swansea battled back from a goal down to win the match 2-1. The following evening, United were embroiled in the what is now the infamous David De Gea no go transfer to Real Madrid – which blew up like a fat boozed up father, belly flopping his way through a barrage of kids onto a bouncy castle. Both clubs cried foul play, both clubs sought to plead their innocence through an online statement – but only one club has secured the signature of the player for the next four years.
The contract extension was a surprise for all reds, but it reiterates United’s stance as one of Europe’s elite to be able to hold onto their prized asset – even at the call of Spain’s, historically, most successful club and the prospect of De Gea returning to his home city.
The excitement over De Gea has taken centre stage over the visit of Liverpool and the prospect of seeing Anthony Martial, the world’s most expensive teenager, take the field for his debut as a Manchester United player. It is unknown as to whether his fellow strike partner and United captain Wayne Rooney, who broke the England goalscoring record midweek – surpassing Bobby Charlton’s 49 goals, will miss the game following a suspected hamstring injury.
- Manchester United have beaten Liverpool 77 times in 192 games – losing 51 – in all competitions
- Wayne Rooney is four goals (233) behind Denis Law (237) in the all time goals scorers for the club
- Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United was the most tweeted about match from last season
Louis van Gaal’s admission demonstrates ability to communicate
Some say Louis van Gaal is under pressure to deliver, but you wouldn’t have thought it based upon his press conference yesterday. The United manager was in buoyant mood following the news that David De Gea signed a contract extension after the debacle of the past few months with regards to his non-transfer to Real Madrid. The press were also privileged to hear a rendition of “Louis van Gaal’s red army” – sung by the manager himself. He may have gone all Tom Cruise and started to refer to himself in third person, but he was adamant that the watching world would know there is no rift in the United dressing room.
They told me to help me. I communicate not only with my captains, they try to warn me.”
– Louis van Gaal on Rooney and Carrick meeting
His opponent, Brendan Rodgers, referred to the 3-0 defeat last season as “his best defeat ever” as Liverpool started to hit form following the defeat. Spaniards Juan Mata and David De Gea were on top form that day, and the United boss will be hoping for a similar outcome against a Liverpool team who are looking to bounce back from a 3-0 home defeat to West Ham at the end of August. Harry Redknapp described Liverpool’s performance against West Ham as “bang average”, but Rodgers was in fighting mood and quipped back that his team will “improve as the season moves on”.
The United faithful will also welcome Anthony Martial onto the pitch for his debut following his big money move from Monaco. Martial has just made his debut for Les Blues in a 1-0 victory over Portugal. He followed up with a second cap in the 2-1 win over Serbia. It is a monumental fee for a 19 year old who has played in just 64 (including the two caps) first team games, scoring 14 goals in his brief professional career. Despite the fee, United fans cannot wait to see the French starlet in action and what better introduction that to score at Stretford End against United’s greatest rivals.
Liverpool View from the opposition
We have a great view from the opposition with Shaun Curran – who kindly answered a few questions ahead of the game for us. We caught up over Liverpool’s slow start to the season, the De Gea transfer saga and was David Moyes given enough time at Manchester United. You can following Shaun on Twitter @shaun_curran.
1) How under pressure is Brendan Rodgers going into the match against Manchester United?
Oh, make no mistake he’s under huge pressure. I don’t know if that translates to fans from other clubs who obviously aren’t as involved with Liverpool, but there’s a huge swathe of the fan base that wanted him out at the end of the season, if not before, and who seem to take great glee from any setback just so they can be proven right about him. So for that reason, he was always going to be one terrible result away from those cries becoming louder and West Ham was a shocker. It was a performance that just reminded everyone about how bad last year was. With Old Trafford and Goodison coming up before the next international break, he can ill afford a bad run now. Not with Klopp and Ancelotti with their feet up at home, too…
2) What have you made of your transfer dealings over the summer? Happy with who you brought in? Did you need to strengthen further?
On paper, the summer business looks very good, much better than the catastrophe of last year. Milner was a no brainer, swapping Johnson for Clyne was like throwing out your knackered old couch and then finding a £50 note down the back of it, and Benteke, given the right service, guarantees goals. Firmino is the wild card, and I’m yet to be convinced from what I’ve seen. We could have done with another centre back, though.
3) What did you make of the whole Raheem Sterling situation? Who got the better deal?
In the long run, Man City. It was a lot of money – probably as much as he’ll ever be worth – but everyone seems to overpay for everyone now and he is going to be a fantastic footballer. He’s already improved their team considerably. But Liverpool did well out of it, and it’s not like he was giving £50mil performances last year. He’s a right divvy, though.
4) What went wrong against West Ham?
It’d be unfair to just say “Dejan Lovren”, so I’ll concentrate on the total lack of shape, pattern of play and attacking threat. One shot on target at home to West Ham – no matter how Slaven Bilic drove the bus – is woeful. It’s just two goals in four games, which is worrying.
5) What have you made of Manchester United’s start of the season and players brought in?
You made some good buys early in the window before the shambles of the last few days (I’m not laughing as I type, honest) but I still think you need another striker and your squad is imbalanced, which is inexcusable given the fortunes you’ve spent since Mr Ferguson left. As for the start of the season, three goals and seven points from games against Spurs, Villa, Newcastle and Swansea – not all that, is it? At least Rooney’s playing well (ahem).
6) You were critical of the appointment of David Moyes in 2013 – was given enough of a chance and what do you make of Louis van Gaal?
No, David Moyes wasn’t given a proper chance, he should have been given a five year contract extension to finish what he started…
It’s interesting that there’s been a few stories leaked to the press this week about the players being unhappy with Van Gaal – I’d be seriously unhappy if I was a fan. With the exception of the three week period in March when you battered Man City and Spurs and played well at Anfield I think you’ve been bang average under him, especially for all the money he’s spent. The football is far too sterile and slow. Plus, although he can be entertaining, some of his interviews are indecipherable nonsense. And I don’t know if this is the feeling among the fans, but I think Van Gaal should shoulder a lot of the responsibility for Di Maria’s failure.
7) The David De Gea transfer was a shambles. Who was to blame and now that he has signed a new contract – can you still see him playing for Madrid?
It was a shambles, but it’s worked out a dream for Utd. He’s obviously signed a new contract now, which is a great result for everyone involved – he gets a pay rise and Man Utd will get his full value when he goes to Madrid next summer.
8) Will Anthony Martial play against Liverpool?
I hope so!
9) Europa League – a hindrance or looking to win it?
I think all the evidence over the years suggests it is a hindrance, which I’ve never understood as in theory playing Thursday/Sunday is no different to Wednesday/Saturday, yet it appears too much for a footballer’s brain to compute. So I don’t see it being anything other than a pain in the arse until the quarter-finals, at which point you’d have to try and win it – there is a Champions League place up for grabs after all. We’ve had some luck with our fixtures after the group matches though – five home games and Everton away.
10) If you could have a pint with any ex-Liverpool player – who would it be and why?
Can I have Shanks? It’d have to be Shanks. ‘There’s Man Utd and Man City at the bottom of Division 1, and by God they’ll take some shifting.’