Ever since Jürgen Klopp arrived at Anfeild and Jose Mourinho signed on at Old Trafford, the hype whenever Liverpool face off against Manchester United has somehow been ratcheted up to another level. The games themselves, on the other hand, have been almost wholly disappointing.
Dull, lifeless affairs, with Mourinho setting up one of the most expensive squads in the world to defend like they were relegation battlers and Klopp’s attackers ending up misfiring and frustrated. And so here we are, at another hyped match between the clubs, dreading another letdown.
“Last season's game was a bit of non-event, maybe the most boring we saw at Anfield all campaign,” noted former Red John Aldridge. “Hopefully this one will have a bit more about it. The crowd will be right up for it, and so will the players. The break was probably a good one for Liverpool.”
A good break for Liverpool, perhaps, allowing the club to regroup after a disappointing September where the performances were solid more often than not but the results simply didn’t follow. But it’s also a chance for United and Mourinho to spend two whole weeks preparing to face them.
“I've seen some suggestions that United might come to Anfield to attack, that Mourinho might take the shackles off them and go for the throat,” a skeptical Aldridge continued. “There is a zero per cent chance of that. It just isn't in Mourinho's make up. His way is to spoil, to slow the game down.
“Say what you like about him, and he's not my cup of tea as you'll know, but he does it well. That's a challenge for Liverpool, and one they'll have to overcome first and foremost. If they want to play, they'll have to earn it. Despite that, I still see vulnerabilities in United's defence.”
Liverpool will have to hope there are, and that for once David de Gea doesn’t have a standout performance against them, because if there is to be any football on display in Saturday’s early kickoff, it will be because Liverpool get their goals and force United and Mourinho out of their shell.
Hopefully that’s what will happen. Otherwise we’ll be in for another over-hyped match between Liverpool and Manchester United that winds up, like last season’s over-hyped meeting, a dull waste of time hardly worth the two hours invested in watching it.