Juan Mata exclusive: There is no game like Liverpool v Manchester United
Last Updated: 13/10/17 12:21pm
Juan Mata insists there is no game in football like Manchester United against Liverpool ahead of their meeting on Sky Sports on Saturday.
United go to Anfield on Saturday unbeaten so far in the Premier League, while Liverpool have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions, with the match live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am.
Mata has fond memories of Anfield, having scored twice in a 2-1 win there in the 2014/15 season, including a spectacular scissor kick.
And the Spaniard admits he is feeling the buzz ahead of Saturday's game, and says he still gets regularly reminded about his contribution to that win in 2015.
Asked if it is United's biggest game, Mata said: "I believe so, since I came here I always knew the rivalry was big over the years. Everyone in the training ground, fans in the street, they remind you that Liverpool is the game.
"There is no game like this. Through the history there have been great games, big rivalries, and it is a special game to play in, and we feel very lucky to have the chance to play in these games.
"The view from Spain I think is that all of the big Premier League games are viewed similarly. Once you are in England you realise United v Liverpool stands out.
"I have pretty good memories from our games against Liverpool. Every United supporter even now, after a few years, remind me of that goal. When you play for United and score at Anfield and win the game, it stays in peoples' minds."
United are sure to experience an intense atmosphere at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime, but Mata says his side can control the emotions of the crowd if they approach the game in the correct way.
"It's tough. It's a tough atmosphere. Obviously, the stadium is full of supporters wanting their team to go over us and win. That's what makes football special. Not speaking about violence at all, but about the atmosphere. You have to have personality to play in these games.
"If we manage to impose ourselves in the game to control the emotions from the crowd, and play good football, I think we have a chance to win."
As of last month, Mata has been fronting the launch of charity 'Common Goal', donating one per cent of his salary to the cause, with other professional footballers joining him.
The 29-year-old says the charity was necessary and says there will be further announcements of more players getting on board in the coming weeks.
"It's been great, it's a really inspiring movement and project. It's nice to see how football has welcomed it, some fellow players and media, and people that make decisions in football.
"I have [received a lot of interest from players]. We have announced many players, and still have many players to announce in the coming weeks. The reception has been great and I'm really thrilled about what Common Goal means for so many people.
"I think something like this was needed. We are privileged people, we are in a lucky position, and so many people in the world are not as lucky as us."
Watch the extended interview with Juan Mata on Premier League Live as Liverpool host Manchester United, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am on Saturday.