Manchester United play host to Liverpool on Saturday in a massive game for both clubs, as the winner of the tie will probably seal second spot for themselves. In such a backdrop, the United lads reminisce about some of their favourite memories when Liverpool have come to town, hoping that Saturday’s game similarly enters history as a United win.
Alex Demarco: Luckily, I’m not old enough to remember Liverpool’s glory years, so on the whole, my memories of United vs Liverpool at Old Trafford are mainly positive. There have been some comfortable wins for us down the years, the 3-0 victories in 2008 and 2014, as well as some memorable individual performances and goals, Dimitar Berbatov’s sublime hat-trick and Anthony Martial’s debut goal to name but a few. However, my personal favourite moment was Rio Ferdinand’s late, late headed winning goal back in January 2006. Even though it didn’t inspire a title win or a cup run, that goal seemed to sum up all that I love about United. Few things beat a last-minute winner against your arch-rivals at the Stretford End and who can forget Gary Neville going berserk, kissing the United badge? It’s that kind of passion and pure love for the club that, unfortunately, we don’t get to see so often anymore but should be used as a stark reminder to show just how much this fixture means to everyone connected to United.
Bob Priestley: I could include many different games or moments in this article: the Berbatov hattrick, Martial’s debut goal or the superb performance of De Gea when he thwarted Liverpool all by himself. But my favourite moment from this fixture is Wes Brown’s goal in 2008. If I hear his name, I close my eyes and picture him above Pepe Reina, almost horizontal. There were so many great things about this goal. The fact it settled my nerves in such an important game. Brown’s utter joy at scoring. The burning question afterwards, ‘why was he there in the first place?’ We’ve got Wesley Brown, we’ve got Wesley Brown, we’ve got Wesley, we’ve got Wesley, we’ve got Wesley Brown.
Harshal Patel: United have luckily had quite a few good wins over Liverpool at Old Trafford in recent years. Under normal circumstances, the 3-1 win at the start of the 2015-16 season would be my favourite, as the unlikely figure of Marouane Fellaini started the game at centre-forward, Daley Blind scored a brilliant opener from a brilliantly-worked freekick, and Ander Herrera scored a penalty to supposedly seal the game. Christian Benteke scored an acrobatic goal to bring Liverpool back into the game, and then United’s bright new #9, Anthony Martial, stepped off the bench to finish into the far corner a la Henry, and blow Old Trafford’s roof off.
But, it is the 3-0 win in the preceding season that is by far my favourite. The reason: I was watching that game, on a giant screen, in the middle of a massive ground, with about 5000 other people, United and Liverpool fans both, at a Premier League Live event held in my city, Mumbai. The buildup to the game itself had been brilliant, as Peter Schmeichel and Robbie Fowler had been flown down to represent the two teams, while the Liverpool club tent was distributing scarves and banners to their fans gathered there in order to drum up an atmosphere. United did not have a tent at the event, although United fans outnumbered their Indian Scouse counterparts.
One of the best moments of the evening came when us United fans heckled Robbie Fowler, while he was signing autographs, to the tune of “Have you seen Fowler win the league?”, which prompted him to turn around and flip us off, sending us into raptures. This even came up during the pre-match coverage, when John Dykes (the presenter) and Schmeichel asked us to “calm down”. The lineup was not one to inspire confidence; Carrick in a back three, with Rooney in midfield alongside Fellaini, and James Wilson partnering van Persie up top. But the game proved otherwise, as Mata, Rooney and van Persie scored, while de Gea performed a one-man impression of a wall, repeatedly keeping out Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli. The United fans were all hoarse by the end of the game, having chanted and sung their way through the 90 minutes, while the Liverpool lot were a quiet bunch; understandably so. It was by far one of my greatest experiences of watching a match, one that will probably only be topped when I watch United in the flesh at Old Trafford someday, and I would gladly take that result on Saturday.