It’s been another busy day, with me being back at work. The idea was to knock the weekend working on the head, but at least it’s only ocasionally now, so I can live with it.
Anyway, it’s meant this post is a bit last minute, but never mind.
I don’t know if I’m looking forward to this game or not.
A big part of me definitely is, because I know we’re easily capable of beating them, but at the same time I’m nervous, because just as Monday showed, United have an awful knack of beating us, even when we’ve thoroughly outplayed them.
And the big question is can we exact revenge, which would be so, so sweet. It might even be worth more than a third round cup win, but that’s debateable, I suppose.
The omens are very much against us, because (and here’s one very sad statistic for you) we haven’t beaten Man United at home in twenty two games in a run that’s lasted since 1995. That’s 27 years and the longest an English side has gone without winning against another club. Ever.
Straight into squad news and the big one is obviously that Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne are both available for the game.
Will they both start?
I’m not sure Coutinho will, as although he’s fit, I doubt he’s properly match fit. My guess would be that he’ll get minutes, but the club will also want to show off what will be this winter’s marquee signing, so he may well start.
I’d expect Digne to start, mainly because Matt Targett will have no reason to feel hard done by. He’s been frankly poor for a while and you can see why Gerrard may have taken a dislike to him.
Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Marvelous Nakamba and Leon Bailey are all out. Trezeguet and Traore are both at the AONC (and you have to wonder if they’re even wanted anyway) and John McGinn is suspended for one match because of yellow cards.
Man U have Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo all back in contention. Luke Shaw, who fouled us for fun and mostly got away with it on Monday and Scott McTominay, the goalscorer are both serving one match bans and Paul Pogba is out. Some say that last one is a good thing for United.
So what to think then?
The truth is I don’t know.
McGinn is the obvious big miss and although I wouldn’t call him particularly physical, the midfield definitely looks lighter without him.
My main concern about Coutinho coming in is not that I don’t think he’s good enough, but more that I think we need more physicality in the middle. We have enough creativity as it is.
Then again, I thought we had bigger concerns than Left back, but Gerrard has decided Digne is wanted now. Maybe it was just the case that he was available and Gerrard thought he was too good to miss out on. I think he’ll come straight in, to offer a bit more threat in the attack side of our game.
The rest of the team picks itself and the only thing is do we persist with Danny Ings?
I personally wouldn’t but I’m not sure what the options are. I said on Monday that Coutinho comes in for him, but I don’t think that is the plan and the Brazilian won’t be up to a full game just yet anyway.
I haven’t worked Steve Gerrard out yet and find it difficult to try and guess how he thinks. Hence I’m not going to try for this game.
All I know is our run without winning at home against Utd is embarrassing. As is the fact that we haven’t done the league double over them since the 1954-55 season. When you consider that we’ve played them many times in that period, it’s just horrendous and surely has to end some time soon.
I see no reason why this game should not end those sad stats and I think it will. I can’t remember a better chance and unless something ridiculously stupid happens, we should be up to beating the Reds.
I’m going for 2-1 to us, although I’d love to say it will be higher than that.