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Richard Dunne: Pool will set record straight


Adam Lallana scoring against Manchester United for Liverpool back in October

Adam Lallana scoring against Manchester United for Liverpool back in October

Adam Lallana scoring against Manchester United for Liverpool back in October

Liverpool will be confident but still a little bit wary when they play Manchester United on Sunday, the one side they wouldn't want to lose their unbeaten Premier League record against.

Liverpool know that this is the only team which has taken points off them all season, so the leaders will want to put the record straight.

We have seen a different side to United against Manchester City and Liverpool in the league, they showed they are more than capable of competing against the best. United have players who can hit you on the counter-attack and cause all sorts of trouble.

United have generally been decent against the top-six teams, it's against the lesser sides that they fail to show up.

So, even though it's stacked in Liverpool's favour, you still have to take into account that United performance at the Etihad, how well they played in a game where they counter-attacked and were capable of sitting back, coping with what City threw at them.

The United fans going to Anfield will expect that, whereas United at home have to come out of their shell, go and attack, which leaves them open.

The United game plan will be the same as it was at the Etihad last month. They had a two-week break before that game to perfect the tactics for the match, that's not the case this weekend as United had that Cup game on Wednesday and the players won't be as fresh.

I look at United's defence and I feel that the Liverpool front three can break them down without much bother.

That Liverpool front line comes at you from different angles, with different ways of attacking. It's very hard to defend against and I expect Liverpool to win the game.

I just don't fancy United's midfield and Liverpool can easily overpower them in that area. It won't be 4-0 to Liverpool, the leaders will win, but it won't be a heavy beating.

United have their style of playing, but the Liverpool midfield is just too strong. They can negate those United counter-attacks and there should be too much trickery in the Liverpool front three to punish United's defence.


However, it will still be a fascinating game. Every time United win a match, they say 'we're back'... and then they go and lose the next one. They have beaten Norwich and Wolves in a week now, but this, Liverpool away, is a chance for them to show where they really want to be in a year's time, competing with the likes of Liverpool.

United are not consistent enough to be challenging for the title. They'd hope that with each transfer window they'll add a player who can make them stronger - it looks like Bruno Fernandes is on his way in - and the consistency will come in time.

A strong performance from United will be a sign of intent, of where they want to be, not where they actually are, as there is still so much work to do before the Old Trafford club can challenge again.

I look at United in the year that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been in charge and they have not progressed - they are no better off than they were a year ago.

There was a period a few months back when Liverpool were not playing all that well, were conceding a lot of goals, and people wondered if they would be found out eventually.

But they are not conceding now and from week to week they look like they are getting stronger.

With the sheer number of games they have played in the last two years, you'd expect fatigue to set in, but that's not been the case, their energy levels never dip.

The big thing is their squad. At the start of the season, I wasn't sure if the Liverpool squad was good enough to get them through the season, but the players they have brought in, when needed, have been as good, as fit and hungry as the players they replaced. When your bench is as strong as your first XI, you will do OK.

That shows me how close those players are as a squad. The likes of Joe Gomez have come in and played really well whenever they've had to. Adam Lallana is another, he plays really well any time he's asked, even though he's probably leaving at the end of the season.

Sometimes as a player when you come in from the sidelines you can be a bit pissed off at not playing every week and, physically, you might be rusty from lack of game time, your game might not be sharp.

However, I don't see that with Liverpool at all. Every player who comes in looks like he has been playing every week, that's what makes them so impressive.