Richard Dunne: 'I don't see the Manchester United players who will stand up to Liverpool and fight'
Even though they are at home, you have to fear for Manchester United when they play Liverpool this weekend – there is just nothing going for United as a club or a team right now and it could be a very painful Sunday for their supporters.
United are at an all-time low, in my life-time at least. Sometimes you need to hit the very bottom before you can start to recover a situation. United are there now – I can’t see how they can go any lower.
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They have needed quality players for a long time now, but every transfer window the players they need seem to be further and further away from them.
Players want to win the Champions League, so they won’t go to Old Trafford.
If United ditch Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and get in a new manager, who can’t make it work either, it could be 20 years before they are a force again.
It’s a shame, in a way, as United are a big club and you like to see big clubs do well, but it’s been a mess for a few years now.
United were in trouble for this weekend anyway, but the news that David de Gea and Paul Pogba are out makes it even harder for them.
Confidence is at an all-time low, so everyone expects them to lose to Liverpool.
Sometimes such lowly expectations can galvanise the players, allowing them to get a result which could build some hope for the rest of the season.
That can happen to teams, everything’s against you and you can somehow turn it around. It happened me to me at club level and international level.
I was often with teams where you’re not doing so well, you are up against a top-four side and as a group you get together and say ‘if we win this, it could kickstart our season’.
But if you are not at a certain level, you can’t make it happen, even if you do try. And I don’t see that happening with United.
I don’t see the players who will stand up to Liverpool and fight, put their bodies on the line for a result. From one to eleven, the Liverpool players are just far superior.
I don’t even see a player on the United bench who could come into the game and change things.
Anthony Martial could be fit, but he’s too temperamental, happy one week and miserable the next.
You never know what kind of performance you’ll get from him and it’s that lack of consistency which holds him back.
Even if Sergio Romero comes in for De Gea, he could have a great game individually, but he’s still going to finish on the losing side.
He’s a good keeper, but it’s the players in front of him who are the problem.
The United squad is just not good enough, and even on the off-chance that United could win on Sunday, it would be a case of one result, but they’d just fall back into old habits afterwards.
They are a mid-table squad, they are not a side that can challenge for the Premier League, even compete for a Champions League spot.
So, even if United did pull off an unlikely win – and I don’t expect them to – the rot has already set in at that club.
They don’t need one big win over their rivals, they need new players, an entire change of mentality.
Everything that comes out of the club now is negative. Something as silly as the club’s goal of the month award going to Marcus Rashford for a penalty, that’s not good to see.
If United get a heavy beating on Sunday, it could be the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, especially when you hear rumours about Massimo Allegri agreeing a pre-contract.
Clearly someone at United is talking to someone else, that’s how the big clubs operate, they hedge their bets and look around at who is available. Even if Solskjaer does somehow turn things around, they haven’t lost anything by making inquiries.
If they do believe that Solskjaer is not the man for the job, they need to have done their homework and be prepared to get in a manager who will look for another £200million to build a squad that can challenge again.
For Liverpool fans, this weekend could be a final sign that the tide has really turned their way, that this is the Liverpool era now, not the United way that it’s been for 25 years or so.
Liverpool as a club are on the verge of something really big. They have won the Champions League, if they win the Premier League they can dominate for a number of years, because of the structure they have in the club now.
When you are building a club, you want to become the best club in your country and then in Europe.
Games like this one on Sunday are vital as you want to make a statement against your rivals.
For some of the Liverpool players, this will be as big as the Champions League final as they know, it’s an opportunity to win against a rival, at Old Trafford, with the eyes of the world watching and they’d love to put United to the sword.
Liverpool have done really well to keep winning in the Premier League while Manchester City have dropped points.
I feared Liverpool would struggle a bit this season, having not added to the squad over the summer, but they have done amazing with what they have.
Their confidence is so high now and the effect of only coming second last season hasn’t held them back.
They are on a run, the work-rate is very impressive, the mood in that group is that they are invincible as a team.
The Liverpool players should show that on Sunday.
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