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'Man Utd will want to stop Liverpool winning the league' - Rush anticipating exciting showdown

10:00 SAST 2019/02/22
Matteo Darmian Roberto Firmino Liverpool Man Utd 16122018
The former Reds forward is expecting a difficult game when Jurgen Klopp's men travel to Old Trafford to take on their old rivals

Liverpool legend Ian Rush believes that the Reds' trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United will be a huge match for both teams and both sets of supporters with the hosts intent on derailing their rivals' title challenge.

The club's all-time leading goalscorer was part of the last Liverpool team to win the title in 1990, but remembers facing a dominant United side in the early 1990s following the formation of the Premier League. Since Liverpool's last title win, the Red Devils have won 13 Premier League titles but Rush believes this season has seen a shift in the way games between the clubs are seen by supporters.

For Liverpool, Sunday's clash at Old Trafford is just another away trip as they look to re-establish a three-point lead between themselves and Manchester City, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's resurgent United side attempt to move closer to the top four.

"I think it will take on more importance for Man United because it's normally the other way around," Rush told Goal. "I'm sure Man United's supporters are saying 'we want to beat Liverpool and stop them winning the league'. Liverpool supporters have been saying that for a long time and now it's the other way around. That brings out the best in Manchester United.

"It's going to be one hell of a game. Manchester United play good football now and Liverpool are playing good football. It's going to be one hell of a game."

Before taking on Bayern Munich at Anfield in the Champions League, Liverpool had the benefit of time to recover in Marbella, having been knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round. Five-time First Division winner Rush feels that the fact that Liverpool are no longer competing on all fronts could actually help them overcome Manchester City in the race for the title, with Pep Guardiola forced to field his strongest XI more regularly than Jurgen Klopp as he challenges for four trophies.

"There's a lot of games to go. There's 12 games to go, and although people saying Manchester City are favourites, there's still 12 games to go," he continued. 

"Man City are favourites with the bookies, but we've got a game in hand. I think there will be lots of ups and downs both from Liverpool and Manchester City. If we can get to the final month of the season and still have a chance, Manchester City could still be in all competitions. That's one thing you have to use to your advantage. I don't think they can afford to rest players. You can't think that you're comfortable and this is a game we can afford to rest players for.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world because the bottom teams can beat the top. So if we get to the final month, Manchester City will think 'we can't rest players here' and Liverpool can use that to their advantage."

As well as fitness, Rush also believes that experience could be a deciding factor in the title race. The majority of Liverpool's players have not won silverware during their time at the club, but Rush feels that former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp can pass on his experience and keep his squad grounded.

"The longer it gets, the more pressure mounts. I played the last time we won the league," the 57-year-old said. "It is about experience and Manchester City do have that experience. Just take it one game at a time. Klopp's got experience in Germany so he'll know to take it one game at a time.

"I think it's right for the supporters to get excited. If they don't get excited now they'll never get excited. But the players have to keep their feet firmly on the ground. That will come with the coaching and management team helping them to do it."

Rush was speaking at an event to promote the upcoming charity game between Liverpool Legends and an Ireland XI to raise funds for the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust. The match is due to take place on April 12 in Dublin and more details can be found on