Man Utd-Liverpool now more than a local rivalry, says Premier League Daily panel
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 11/01/17 12:37pm
Clashes between Manchester United and Liverpool are about much more than local rivalry these days, according to the Premier League Daily panel.
The two sides meet at Old Trafford on Nissan Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1HD from 3.30pm, in the second part of Merseyside v Manchester.
Liverpool are currently second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Chelsea, while United are three points outside the top four in sixth.
Former Everton midfielder Leon Osman thinks the fact both clubs are in the mix at the top of the table will give the match added impetus.
"You can see the intensity and the rivalry that goes into the game," Osman told Premier League Daily. "They are enjoyable to watch and it is usually a great spectacle.
"There is not just the local rivalry, it is about more than that now."
Liverpool have not beaten United in the league since 2014 while the reverse fixture at Anfield in October ended 0-0.
Former Tottenham and QPR manager Gerry Francis agrees with Osman that this weekend's meeting could prove to be one of the more significant in the history of the fixture.
He said: "It has always been special because it has been a massive rivalry.
"I played against a Liverpool team who were dominating the First Division as it was then, winning trophies, winning titles, and then Manchester United in the Premier League era, along with Arsenal, became the team to beat.
"Liverpool have struggled to get that [Premier League] title but the rivalry of the two has always been immense.
"Whatever positions they are in the league it has always been a major game but, this year in particular, you have got Manchester United among the [top] six teams trying to close the gap and Liverpool who are really trying to put pressure on [leaders] Chelsea, so it is a massive game for both clubs."
Following United's EFL Cup semi-final first leg win over Hull on Tuesday, United boss Jose Mourinho urged the club's fans to get behind their team more but Francis does not think they will require any prompting against Liverpool.
"The way Jurgen Klopp does that with the Liverpool crowd, maybe he is trying to beat him at his own game," said Francis.
"I don't think he will need any encouragement for the fans for Man United-Liverpool.
"I think it will be a fantastic atmosphere and it is a tremendous game, with both sides needing to win."