Ferdinand: Man Utd have a chance to ‘really hurt’ Liverpool

Rio Ferdinand has delivered a passionate rallying cry ahead of Manchester United’s game at Anfield against Liverpool.

The top two in the Premier League face off this Sunday as Liverpool host Man United. Jurgen Klopp’s side were clear at the top a few weeks ago.

But they are now winless in three Premier League games. This has seen Man United and co close in on the champions.

F365 FEATURES: Liverpool v Man United title heroes, from Danny to Diego

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are unbeaten in their last eleven Premier League games. The last time they lost in the league was against Arsenal at Old Trafford in early November.

The Red Devils beat Burnley 1-0 on Tuesday to move three points clear at the top of the table. Should Liverpool beat United, they will rejoin their arch-rivals at the summit on 36 points.

But if the Red Devils pick up all three points at Anfield, they will extend their lead over their rivals to six points.

Ferdinand took to Twitter to encourage his former club ahead of Sunday’s top of the table clash:

“There are big games, there are games that mean a bit more than the other and then there’s the Liverpool game – especially when both teams are near the top of the table.

“Obviously with no fans in the stadium it’s not going to be quite the same but trust me the importance of this game and its history will not be lost on these current players.

“Even just the thought of losing this game used to make you feel sick. This Manchester United team have the opportunity to really hurt this Liverpool team’s confidence by going six points clear of them with a win.

“You couldn’t ask for more of an incentive right now. PS, Liverpool haven’t lost at home for nearly four years also… another incentive right there!”

Mourinho: Ndombele ‘realised he had to change’ at Spurs

Jose Mourinho says Tanguy Ndombele deserves “total credit” for his turnaround in form for Tottenham.

The 24-year-old was a peripheral figure for Spurs last season and was publicly criticised by Mourinho for his displays following his £54million move from Lyon.

But Ndombele has fought for his place and is now a regular starter under Mourinho.

READ MORE: Ranking Premier League clubs by games missed through injury

And the Portuguese boss insists the key was the Frenchman realising he “had to change”.

“I always say, and I’ve really felt it all through my career, that the big responsibility for good and for bad is [with] the player,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“We don’t make miracles. We don’t make players when they have no quality and when they have no desire and no discipline and no motivation. So for good or bad, it’s always the player’s responsibility and we are the ones who can try to help.

“Sometimes they are open for that and other times they are not. When they are not, there is nothing you can do, but when they are open, you feel that motivation to help them.

“When Tanguy arrived here his condition was not good. When I arrived he was getting small injury after small injury which I believe was his responsibility.

“And for him to realise that he had to change, and work in a different way, is to his credit. Yes, he is playing and playing well. We are happy with him. But, I repeat, it’s total credit to Tanguy.”

Neville, Carra in Man Utd-Liverpool round table discussion

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher sat down and dicussed the big game and the big rivalry in a Sky Sports round table (via MEN). They talked United expectation, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jurgen Klopp and the “favourable decisions”.

Take it away, chaps…

“There is no expectation that Man United will win the league yet,” Neville stresses. “I don’t think anyone is thinking that. Even now. I think the fact is that six to eight weeks ago it looked inconsistent. Going out of Europe, it seemed it would all catch up with them.

“All of a sudden, momentum builds and resilience builds, especially with those comebacks in away games. City dropped points, Liverpool dropped points. That has given everyone encouragement. There is no one in this country who watches football who expected United to be top of the league in January.

READ MORE: Liverpool v Man United title heroes, from Danny to Diego

“So the idea of United fans getting carried away? I don’t think the answer is yes. It may seem like that when you read Twitter because you get the extremes of people like me looking like we are getting carried away. When you ask us professionally? No. We are just having a bit of fun. The target at the start of the season was to get closer to City and Liverpool. That was imperative for Ole to maintain his progression. That is what I am most relieved about.

“After the City game there was pressure on Ole. They had just gone out of Europe and that game was dire. It looked like it would have to be reviewed at the end of the season. To go from that mindset to where we are now is an unexpected shift and we are enjoying ourselves, which is nice because it has not been enjoyable the last seven or eight years.”

On battles against Liverpool in his playing days, Neville added: “Liverpool was always the team to beat and Anfield was always the best place to win for a Manchester United player. If you left Anfield with a victory, you felt on top of the world. If you left Anfield or Old Trafford with a defeat, you always felt terrible. If you are a Manchester United player and you lose against Liverpool or City – even for the youth team – then it was bad.

“Sir Alex’s mood was terrible. The mood around the club was terrible and it didn’t get any better for a few days after that. It was a really sombre club. It was a defeat that wasn’t just forgotten about. Defeats to Liverpool hung around our club like a bad smell. Even if the next game came quickly, it was still there. Sir Alex’s next team talk after a Liverpool defeat was never pleasant.

“You knew going into a game against Liverpool that the result set the mood for the next five or six days because it would affect the mood of the manager so much. Sir Alex used to say, ‘if you win at Anfield, then you’ve got a great chance of winning the league.’ That was his belief because it was the ultimate test for a United team.”

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Solskjaer regards the absence of Liverpool fans on Sunday as an “advantage”, and Neville agrees.

“You would have to think that can only suit United,” Neville opines. “In terms of the noise that would normally be there…”

“So you might have to attack, then?” Carragher quips.

“What Jamie seems to be wanting from this game is for United to go gung-ho and attack like mad so his mob can counter-attack! I would be delighted for it to be 0-0 with half-hour to go. United need to get through that first 15 or 20 minutes, do not overcommit – it would be madness to overcommit against this Liverpool team. Keep it tight and compact, stop the passes into the front three, stop the full-backs. If it goes into the latter part of the game I fancy United.”

Carragher then spoke of the “joke” admission made by Mark Clattenburg, that Man United have been given “favourable decisions”, particularly in the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

“Now they are getting penalties again, and they are challenging again,” Carragher laments. “Mad isn’t it – what a coincidence!”

Carragher is then asked if any part of him is glad United are competing with Liverpool again.

“No, not really! Listen, that’s me with my Liverpool hat on. If you’re thinking of me with my Sky Sports hat on and what it is for the season – not just Liverpool-United – I think we always start the season hoping that there will be three or four teams challenging for the title and it never seems to happen.”

“That’s the headline: ‘Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher welcomes United’s challenge’,” Neville laughs.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under pressure at times this season, but Neville has been impressed by United’s progress under his former teammate.

“Ole has to get United closer to City and Liverpool,” Neville stresses. “United have been miles away from them for two years, so I think if they are within two or three games of City and Liverpool at the end of the season I would say that’s probably where he needs to be. That would be progression this season. That feels really defeatist when United are three points clear at the top of the league but we know this season has been awkward and inconsistent.

“What I would say is that, over 12 months, Manchester United have put together a really consistent run of performances. They are hard to beat, they win a lot of away games, but their home record has been a little bit disappointing.

“I would say at this moment in time that Ole is on track to extend that contract – if he stays around City and Liverpool towards the end of the season. That would represent massive progression from where they were.

“He has to win the Premier League title – or he won’t live as Manchester United’s manager for a long time. We know that. Ole knows that. At the end of next season, he will have had three-and-a-half years at the club. That’s enough time.

“Jurgen Klopp had four years to win it, but he also got to a Champions League final, so you could see there was real progress. Ole has to get a lot closer this season and then next season he really has to challenge. That will be the plan.

“Even now, I think to myself if they had just got a top centre-back and a top right winger then it would be even better. I also think centre-forward is an issue if Cavani was to leave. If Ole can get close to City and Liverpool this year, then next season he has to challenge for the title. He will have had a fair amount of time at that point.

“The worst thing that can happen on Sunday is that we end up joint top of the league! It’s no problem!

“That’s why I’ve enjoyed the last couple of weeks. It just seems as though the Liverpool fans are just biting a little bit – for no reason!”

Pep targets Lukaku in £200m Man City transfer splurge

Pep Guardiola will reportedly be handed a £200million transfer pot for Manchester City this summer, with former Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku one of the targets.

City have battled through a tough start to the campaign to firmly assert themselves as Premier League title contenders this season and lie four points behind leaders United with a game in hand.

Gossip: Sancho one of four Man Utd targets; Pogba swap

But Guardiola will be given more cash this summer to remedy some long-term squad dilemmas.

According to The Telegraph, the Spaniard wants a new striker, a left back and a defensive midfielder.

Goals have been harder to come by this season for City with legendary striker Sergio Aguero struggling through injury.

The Argentinian’s contract expires in six months and he is yet to decide on his future.

Whether Aguero stays or goes, the report claims City will sign a new striker regardless.

Inter Milan’s Lukaku, Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and Benfica forward Darwin Nunez are said to be the top targets as long-term successors to Aguero.

Meanwhile, midfielder Fernandinho – who has made over 300 appearances for City – could also leave this summer with City requiring a replacement.

And City also have no stand-out option at left back due to Benjamin Mendy’s fitness problems so will also look to strengthen in that area.

Mick Foley's Book Plugged During Raw, Match Announced For Live SmackDown

— WWE announcer Michael Cole mentioned Mick Foley’s new book, Countdown to Lockdown, during Monday’s Raw while The Great Khali made his ring entrance. Cole, referring to Foley as a “good friend,” noted that there would be stories from his time as a WWE announcer.

It marks the first time that a book written by a former WWE talent has been plugged on WWE programming.

— WWE returns to the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, Maryland on November 28, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale Saturday, October 22, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. (Thanks to Devin Cutting)

— A match pitting Rey Mysterio against Alberto Del Rio is advertised to take place this Friday during SmackDown’s live debut on Syfy.

The official website of the Oklahoma Ford Center is also advertising the following three matches: Wade Barrett vs. John Cena with Nexus as Lumberjacks, Randy Orton vs. Sheamus for the WWE Championship, and Kane vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship.

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