As the dust settles on Liverpool’s hard-fought draw with Bayern Munich, another match can be seen on the horizon. It’s big and it’s red and it’s nasty. It’s the only rivalry that matters in English football. Just don’t tell that to Dulwich Hamlet or Tooting and Mitcham.
It’s a match at Old Trafford against the resurgent Manchester United. The very non-Mourinho-having Manchester United who are picking up points in the Premier League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and currently sitting in fourth place. United are still nine points back from Tottenham Hotspur but have built up a nice head of steam since Mourinho was finally sacked and would like nothing more than to strengthen their position in top four with a win against Liverpool.
Gini Wijnaldum was in the Anfield XI when Xherdan Shaqiri replaced Naby Keita in the second half and single-handedly wrestled the three points for Liverpool with two dynamite goals and United lost 3-1. But the Dutchman knows this coming fixture will be a different kettle of fish.
“I think it is going to be a real big change,” said Wijnaldum
“Since the new manager came in there is a new flow. They played good games and have won a lot and that is building confidence in the team.
“It’s also a home game for them so they will have a lot of confidence as they don’t have the problems they had before.
“It is going to be a difficult game but I’m looking forward to it. I think for them we come at a good moment but we’re also doing well so it is going to be a nice game to watch.”
Wijnaldum’s words project the ever-growing confidence in the current squad. Jürgen Klopp has helped these Liverpool players to believe in themselves regardless of conceding goals or getting unexpected results. The team is chock full of leaders and they will all be preaching the same sermon of positivity and determination after the Bayern draw.
Keeping a clean a sheet at home could prove crucial in Liverpool advancing passed the German club in the second leg. But that is past and future. In the present, Klopp is preparing his team to thwart the effective things in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s game plan so that Liverpool can beat United and reclaim the top spot from loiterers Manchester City.
Big weekend ahead, folks.