It’s potentially the biggest Premier League ‘˜Grand Slam Sunday’ there has been for a while. Fourth place Liverpool travel to league leaders Manchester United, whilst third place Chelsea are at home to second place Arsenal.
It is worth noting that Liverpool‘s odds of winning the title have slipped dramatically from 450/1 to just 80/1 in the last two weeks as Rafael Benitez’s side enjoyed seven consecutive victories to put their season back on course.
Even the usually critical Steve McManaman admits results this week could see Liverpool move back in title contention, leaving a four horse race at the top of the table.
Speaking to Setanta Sports, the former Liverpool winger said, “If Liverpool beat Manchester United they’re back into it at the weekend. They’d still be only four or five points behind and you never know what’s going to happen with Chelsea and Arsenal.
“I think, at the moment, it is a three-horse race but, this time next week, I might change my opinion.”
Now, however, comes the most testing run of games for the Reds with all of the next five games, domestically and in Europe, against top five Premier League opposition. The run consists of: Manchester United (A), Everton (H), Arsenal (A), Arsenal (A) and Arsenal (H).
This Sunday Benitez looks for his first league victory over Alex Ferguson’s men since taking over from Gerard Houllier at Anfield in the summer of 2004. Benitez’s only scalp of the arch-rivals came en-route to the 2006 FA Cup success; Peter Crouch’s header the only goal of the game in a tense 1-0 victory for Liverpool at home.
“Liverpool are on a fantastic run of form at the moment, having won their last seven games ‘“ but their trip to Old Trafford on Sunday is the biggest test so far,” said Rush.
“Manchester United are going for the title and they have some wonderful players, particularly in attack. But I honestly believe Liverpool can go there and win because I think they are playing well enough to beat any team in this country and the rest of Europe at the moment.”
Similarly, Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso believes the good form an spirit within the team at the moment could help propel the Reds to an important victory this weekend.
“We are in a good moment, playing well and scoring goals, and now we have to think of the next game against Man United,” said Alonso.
“It is going to be a big game, playing at Old Trafford, we know their qualities but we are really looking forward to it.”
The match gets underway at 1.30pm on Sunday and is live on Sky Sports. Stay tuned to This Is Anfield this week for more match build-up and team news. Get involved in the pre-match discussion here.