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Fairclough: “We Know How Mourinho Approaches Games at Anfield”

The ex-Red is expecting a defensive approach from United, but it Liverpool’s attack clicks it may not matter.

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Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Waiting on a Monday night game following an international break means there’s still some time to go before Liverpool fans get to watch the club back in action. That extra long wait, though, does come with at least one benefit as former Reds striker David Fairclough sees it.

A night game, under Anfield’s floodlights, can be a special affair. They’re famous European nights, after all, not early afternoons. And just last year, Liverpool got to play against Manchester United, their upcoming league opponents, on a weekday evening to quite positive effect.

"Underneath the lights, Anfield is a totally different place," Fairclough told the club’s official website. "We played them in the Europa League last year and it was a fantastic atmosphere and the lights bring the best out of Anfield sometimes, so hopefully there'll be something similar.

"There will be that urgency to win, we love beating Manchester United, and it's a big game so everyone can't wait for it. We can set the tempo with the atmosphere, and if the atmosphere is up, generally that brings out the best performances at Anfield."

Meanwhile, their opponents have had a solid enough start to life under Jose Mourinho, but it’s been far from spectacular—especially when considering Manchester United have the most expensive squad in the world, topping the likes of even Real Madrid and Barcelona.

And despite the no expense spared approach to constructing their current unit, United do have weaknesses that Liverpool could exploit. Weaknesses that could lead to Mourinho taking a conservative approach to the match that would make it very different than most Liverpool-United affairs.

“Games against United are normally [high-tempo] but this time [they could] approach it a bit softer in terms of not rushing out,” added Fairclough. “They won't want to make it open. They'll have done their homework, obviously, and they'll try to frustrate Liverpool.

“We know how Jose Mourinho approaches games at Anfield. But from Liverpool's point of view, I don't think we'll see much change. Liverpool will play that style that we know they're now comfortable with and, if they get an early breakthrough, they could make life easier for themselves."

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