This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
The Theatre of Dreams has become a far less intimidating place to play for opposing teams. Every pundit in the world has told us over the last year or so that the ‘fear factor’ has gone, and that is certainly evidenced by defeats to the likes of Cardiff City and Crystal Palace this year alone.
That said, one team who just can’t seem to figure out how to win in the red half of Manchester is Liverpool.
Since that memorable 4-1 thrashing back in 2009, the Reds have won a Premier League game at Old Trafford just once, and even that was somewhat of an anomaly.
Why, you ask? Well for starters, David Moyes was in charge of the Red Devils for that 3-0 defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ Reds, so that instantly makes it more like playing against Sunderland than one of the biggest clubs in the world – no offence David.
Secondly, Liverpool were led by a strike partnership of a fully fit Daniel Sturridge and a prime Luis Suarez, the former of which is about as rare as a unicorn and the latter looked like he was designed in a laboratory in outer space specifically to score goals and relegate Norwich City.
And if you ever needed a statistic to tell you just how poor the Anfield outfit have been whenever they have rocked up in front of the Stretford end in the past decade, here it comes – the last Liverpool player to score a Premier League goal from open play at Old Trafford was Christian Benteke.
Yes, that Benteke. You know, the one who hasn’t scored a goal in any competition for Crystal Palace since April, which was his only strike of the entire 2018/19 campaign. Yeah, that guy.
Since the Belgian’s consolation bicycle kick in a 3-1 defeat, James Milner has scored from the spot in a horrifically dull 1-1 draw, while Eric Bailly prodded into his own net after Marcus Rashford had terrorised Trent Alexander-Arnold in a 2-1 United win.
Yet, with injuries piling up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and Liverpool having won the same number of league games as United have points since the Norwegian’s permanent arrival, this is surely the time it all changes… right?
Klopp has billed his squad as “mentality giants” in the past, and this may just be the final psychological hurdle they need to jump over to truly believe they can go all the way and win the league title.
Yes it’s only October, but if the Reds can win their 18th top-flight game in a row at a ground where they’ve won just once in a decade, who can stop them?