There have been plenty of talking points, as is customary with the build-up to any United versus Liverpool fixture, as England’s most successful clubs prepare to lock horns once again. Even the pre-match build-up to this fixture could be difficult to top: Both managers under pressure after terrible results before the international break, the standard debate about which club is bigger, and some unexpected, barely believable contract news as far as United are concerned.
There is only one place to start, that is David De Gea’s new bumper four year deal, with the option of a further year. It is fair to say that there has been euphoria from fans and team-mates and even the events of deadline day now seemingly water under the bridge with De Gea and Van Gaal back onside with one another, with the keeper now in line to make his comeback against Liverpool, a fitting place to start with a game of this magnitude.
Both parties were understandably delighted with the news:
David De Gea said:
“I am delighted to be starting this new chapter in my United career. I have always enjoyed playing with these great players in front of our fantastic fans. Manchester United is a special club and Old Trafford is an ideal place for me to continue to develop my career. I’m looking forward to putting a difficult summer behind me and concentrating on working hard to improve and help my teammates to be successful.”
Louis van Gaal said:
“I am absolutely delighted David has signed a new contract. He is one of the best goalkeepers in world football. I am very pleased that he will be part of the team for many years to come. David made a very important contribution to our performance last season and he has been the club’s Player of the Year for the last two seasons. He is a popular player who is keen to learn and enhance his game. At such a young age for a goalkeeper, he has many years ahead of him.”
Van Gaal was also asked about the speculation surrounding player unrest which was reported by a number of outlets, he appeared dumbfounded by the reports:
Van Gaal also gave an update on whether United would have a full squad of players to choose from, giving information on Michael Carrick and Phil Jones:
“Only Pereira came back from internationals with an injury. Carrick can play. Jones is still injured but he’s going well.”
On the subject of whether De Gea will start? Van Gaal was coy as ever:
“You shall see,” he said. “You never know. His head is empty now and that is important. He can focus. but we have to judge him in training.”
United will facing a Liverpool side minus star creator Philippe Coutinho, who was sent off in their last league match- that 3-0 home defeat to West Ham. That news will weaken Liverpool and give United’s defence a boost knowing they do not have to contain the Brazilian.
Psychologically, that news twinned with the David De Gea new deal give United the edge pre-game, not to mention home advantage.
Last season’s corresponding fixture saw De Gea brilliance ensuring the 3-0 scoreline looked a lot more comfortable than it actually was, a repeat scenario on Saturday evening would be just the right way to start after an international break.
Come on United!