Three things Liverpool simply must do to beat Man United

Liverpool looked to be making a steady start to the new season until a spectacular capitulation at home to West Ham before the international break.

Brendan Rodgers will urgently need to address the flaws exposed in that defeat, if his side are to chase Champions League football this term.

The immediate problem for the Northern Irishman is that up next is a trip to bitter north west rivals Manchester United.

To make matters worse, star man Philippe Coutinho misses out through suspension. 

What must Rodgers do if he is to have any chance of beating the odds and leaving Old Trafford with three points?

Suffocate Schweinsteiger

Schweinsteiger

The German captain has had a low key start to his United career so far with his place in Louis van Gaal’s first eleven far from assured.

On Saturday though, with Michael Carrick struggling with a calf injury, Schweinsteiger is likely to feature at the base of United’s midfield.

Van Gaal will entrust his former Bayern star to dictate the tempo of the match and ensure United dominate possession on home soil.

In order to reduce the pressure on their back four, the Liverpool midfield must give the 31-year-old as little time on the ball as possible.

Permitting him to take control of the game would see him launch constant attacks from a deep position and allow the home side’s full backs to pin Liverpool back.

The match will be Schweinsteiger’s first taste of a north west derby and the Liverpool midfield must ensure he struggles with the intensity. Even if Carrick is passed fit or appears from the bench, the same principles should be applied.

Weather the storm

Milner

The Old Trafford crowd will expect the home side to make a blistering start to the game, especially after the setback experienced in their last league fixture against Swansea.

It is likely that Liverpool will yield both possession and territory early on.

Brendan Rodgers will no doubt have a plan to counteract both of these possibilities but it is vital that his side do not give United an early goal, even if it means an uglier style of play than Liverpool fans would be used to.

So far this season, United have found league goals difficult to come by, despite their neat ball retention.

Martin Skrtel and co will need maximum concentration levels from the off to avoid allowing any easy openings.

The experience of James Milner will also be vital as Liverpool seek to gain a foothold in the game.

If United are kept at bay during their initial assault, their frustration is sure to grow and Liverpool’s chances will be greatly improved if they can emerge unscathed from the opening 25 minutes.

Get to the goalkeeper

De Gea4

Most of the pre-game build-up this week will feature speculation about the United goalkeeper position and the potential re-introduction of David De Gea.

The collapse of the young Spaniard’s move to Real Madrid and his omission form the United side so far this season are bound to have had a psychological effect.

If Van Gaal chooses to re-introduce him to the side for such a high profile match, it will be a huge test of his character.

Of course United could continue with Sergio Romero between the sticks.

The Argentine has kept four clean sheets so far this term but received heavy criticism after the Swansea defeat and with De Gea now destined to stay for the time being, is bound to be wondering how long his first-choice status will last.

Whichever keeper appears, they are bound to be nervous. Liverpool must ensure they are kept busy, either with shots on target or with crosses towards the bustling Christian Benteke.

Both United custodians have looked frail in the air in the past, when their confidence has been at a lower ebb.