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Liverpool proved today that if the conditions are right they can indeed beat a team above them in the Premier League.  That team today was Swansea, who with the Capital One Cup final in seven days' time sent an unfamiliar eleven out onto the pitch this afternoon.

Michael Laudrup has since the match finished come out and apologised for getting it wrong this afternoon and I really hope that the clubs supporters accept his honesty.  He is after all taking Swansea to Wembley to try and win their first trophy for many years.

His decision of course helped an inconsistent Liverpool to prove that yes, when they put their minds to it they can actually score goals and win games.  We were also able once again to call upon Daniel Sturridge, who had missed the tie in Zenit because of his ineligibility in the Europa League and young Phillipe Coutinho was given his first start for the club.  A start that would show us, he has the makings of a very good player.  A player, who like Luis can weave in and out of the opposition and score a wonderful goal.

Liverpool as we all know have, had a pretty torrid seven days. Seven days, which began when we lost to Oldham in the FA Cup. A defeat that if the truth be known would not had happened if Brendan had selected the right team for the game.  It did and it appeared that he had learnt his lesson on Wednesday when the team sent out to play Arsenal at the Emirates was made up baring one of senior players. 

That team did what Liverpool tend to do having managed to ensure that we were two goals to the good they lost concentration and Arsenal recovered enough to score two goals of their own, thus ensuring that Liverpool lost two badly needed points.

The match today was against last year's Premiership champions; Manchester City who at the start of play had learnt that local rivals Manchester United were 10 points clear at the top of the league.  Now this should have been the spark that lit the fire, but what they had not reckoned on was the determination of Liverpool.

The result this afternoon was a result that should not have happened but it did and it was blatantly obvious from the moment the chosen team was published that it was going to happen.

Liverpool have always taken the F.A. Cup seriously and there was no way we were going to win that game with the calamitous Sebastian Coates in the team.  No I have nothing against the lad, but he has proved time and time again that he is not a Liverpool player and guess what 90 seconds into the game, he did it again.  This time though, there was nobody competent enough on the pitch to pick up the mess and stop the inevitable goal.

Now if I had been in Brendan's shoes, I would have hauled him off there and then and replaced him with Jamie, who would have been able to cope with the Oldham players physicality.  Sebastian Coates could not and Martin Skrtel was no help today either.  Why, I have no idea, but I suspect had Jamie or even Daniel Agger been on the pitch, the back four would have been a lot more solid than they were.

We have for the last seven days been told by most of the media that the game this afternoon was the biggest in the football calendar.  Now I would love to know why that is because it was simply a game between two rivals based in the North West of England.  Two rivals who have been battling it out over the last twenty years to simply prove a point.

That point of course boils down to who will win the most trophies.  Now as we all know Manchester United are in the lead where the Premiership is concerned, because apart from four years ago when Rafa Benitez was in charge, Liverpool have not come close anywhere close enough to ensure that they are knocked of their perch. Where the Champions League/European Cup is concerned, we have won it five times and Manchester United is playing catch up.

The game today was part and parcel of that fierce competition and it was always either going to be a classic or indeed one of those games that left the supporter wondering what  would happen if things had been done differently.

WE ASKED Echo website readers to tell us their team and tactics ahead of Sunday's showdown at Old Trafford and the verdict is clear - Liverpool FC should take the game to Man United.


by Tom Evans

STEVEN GERRARD says he's fitter than he's ever been - and he's got another three or four years left at the top level.

The 32-year-old Reds skipper has been in sparkling form recently, scoring three goals in his last five games.

And across the league, only Everton's Leighton Baines has created more chances than Gerrard this season.

Brendan Rodgers 460.jpg

by James Pearce

BRENDAN RODGERS will send his Liverpool side out at Old Trafford tomorrow with the message: "You're as good as any team in this league."

The Reds maybe 21 points adrift of Manchester United but the manager insists there is no reason for them to fear the showdown with the Premier League leaders.


by James Pearce

BRENDAN RODGERS insists he wouldn't swap Luis Suarez for anyone as the boss warned that any abuse dished out to his striker at Old Trafford will only inspire him.

Tomorrow's lunchtime showdown sees the Premier League's two most prolific hitmen go head to head with Suarez up against Manchester United's Robin van Persie.

Yesterday was one of those days that would go down in Liverpool's history as the day when several things happened that benefited the club.

The first happened around mid-morning when it was announced that Daniel Sturridge had completed his transfer to Liverpool from Chelsea.  It is hoped that he will step into the breach and help Luis Suarez score the goals that are desperately needed.

The second came in early evening when it was announced that Joe Cole was at West Ham discussing a possible move to them and awaiting his medical. Now I mean no disrespect to Joe, but he was never going to do well at Liverpool - he simply was not the type of player that they needed or indeed wanted. I am sure that now he is back in his native East End, he will once again thrive on the pitch and I wish the best of luck for the remaining years of his football career.

Although we still have one game to play before our Christmas schedule is over, today was the day that quite possibly would prove to the supporters, Liverpool were in fact making the expected improvements under manager Brendan Rodgers.  We were after all playing Queens Park Rangers, who are still languishing in the relegation zone having only won, one game.

Off the field matters took precedence first though, as it was announced at lunchtime today that Brendan Rodgers would not attend the game due to an illness. This meant that Colin Pascoe, who himself was ill and Mike Marsh were in charge of first team affairs for the day.  The illness also claimed reserve goalkeeper Brad Jones and meant that Peter Gulasci had to be rushed down to London from Merseyside.

The next thing that annoyed the majority of Liverpool supporters was the fact that Liverpool were playing in that DREADFUL black kit.  Now that kit should not see the light of day because it is so awful, but I guess it has to be worn several times a year under the agreement put into place with Warrior.  I also understand that the sales of the shirt are extremely low, so I get the feeling Liverpool have been told to wear it, to ensure it gets more exposure.  It won't work of course, because Liverpool have played in Red since the 1960's and that must NEVER change.

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