Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has insisted that a win for Manchester United against Liverpool would be football’s biggest upset since Wigan Athletic defeated Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final.
The two rivals go into battle on Sunday with 14th-placed United 15 points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp’s men are strong favourites to leave Old Trafford with all three points – something they have not achieved for five years.
Former United star Rio Ferdinand has issued a rallying cry to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, but the odds are stacked against them in what many predict to be one of the most one-sided contests in years.
Writing in the Sunday Times, former Reds captain and manager Souness said: “If Manchester United beat Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday, it will be the biggest upset in top-flight football since Manchester City lost to Wigan in the 2013 FA Cup final.
“I’m not saying that for the effect, I’m not saying it because I’m an ex-Liverpool player.
“I’m saying that because that’s what all the relevant indicators signify: the strength on paper of the respective squads; the fitness of key players (Paul Pogba out for United and maybe David de Gea too); the fact that Jurgen Klopp knows his best starting XI and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clearly doesn’t; and recent form — eight league wins out of eight for Liverpool, just one win from their past seven for their opponents.
“These are dangerous times at Old Trafford so the visit of their rivals, whose confidence is sky-high, is the last thing they need.
“Usually when you have a ‘derby game’ — and that’s what today’s fixture effectively is — you can make a case for the underdog winning, whatever the gulf in class between the two sides.
“Sometimes you’re banking on their sheer doggedness or passion to get a result.
“Those qualities, however, have been in short supply of late at Manchester United.
“Look at Liverpool’s likely line-up, on the other hand, and it’s hard to find the Achilles heel.
“If Sadio Mane doesn’t score then Mo Salah will, but don’t for a moment think that Roberto Firmino is the junior partner in the offensive spearhead. His touch and running off the ball are the glue which holds that trio together.”