Manchester United’s season have not got off well, another local derby against Merseyside outfit Liverpool would go on to test their resolve to hit the ground running.
Having lost two and drawn one of their opening five league fixtures, the odds are against David Moyes’ men to retain the title which was won in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge.
If Sunday’s loss at the Etihad was too much too early for the ‘Red Devils,’ tomorrow’s Capital One Cup third-round tie against Brendan Rodgers’ team marks a second re-enactment of the United-Liverpool good-old rivalry so far this season which, as I write, has gone the ‘Kops’s’ way, following United’s 1-0 loss at Anfield on Sunday, September 1- without any recall of the numbers of league titles in between the two teams.
Robin van Persie is totally out of contention for a second game running, after securing a groin injury in the warm up to the Manchester derby, but Rodgers is glad for the return of Luis Suarez, who is in contention for Wednesday’s Old Trafford match.
“I don’t think he (Van Persie) will play on Wednesday, but I think there’s an outside chance for Saturday,” Moyes said at his pre-game conference.
The return of Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker, Suarez, does not faze United’s boss, whose defence was too porous to curb Sergio Aguero’s excesses in front of a helpless David De Gea last Sunday, but he admits the controversial forward, who has just served out his ten-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, is a threat.
“I think it means Liverpool have a really good player, so does it change the complexion? I don’t know. I am not looking a Liverpool too much except that I know the qualities of Luis Suarez is very good,” Moyes added.
“I think my idea this season was to focus on every competition. I think that it’s always been here to win. But I think the Capital Cup in many ways is always a route to try and give as many young players as opportunity as we can. Obviously this was a really big tie that came out of the hat for us.”
It has been ‘baptism of fire’ for the Scot and complaining at this stage would be wasted effort, hence emulating Ferguson, who had had to manage a poor start to win the league title on several occasions during his 26-year reign, would be commendable.
Moyes added: “I think to get back on and play again is best way- you can’t dwell too long on it. So I’m looking forward to getting the next game started and hopefully trying to win.
“I think it’s always a big game when you play any cup tie. I think when you play Liverpool, which is a big rivalry, against Manchester United, it could take on a bigger significance than people would expect. But in the end of the day it’s another game and you take the next game that comes.”
Moyes is expected to ring a number of changes from his side that lost 4-1 to Manchester City, with Javier Hernandez, Jonny Evans, Sinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha and Anders Lindergaard amongst those hoping to be involved.
Daniel Agger is unlikely to be risked by Liverpool as he is still sruggling with a side strain which forced him off in Satueday’s defeat to Southampton.
Kolo Toure would certainly take his place, Jose Enriques will look to seal a place on the left and Andre Wisdom and Martin Kelly vying for a place on the right.