Wednesday 16 March 2016

United need spirit of 84 to turn fortunes around

The Reds disappointing performance at Anfield that sees us go into the last 16 home leg 2-0 down have revived memories of that unforgettable Cup Winners Cup night 32 years ago this month against Barcelona.

United, then under the stewardship of 'Big' Ron Atkinson, were two down from their first leg against the mighty Barcelona at the Camp Nou. 

But Diego Maradona, Bernd Schuster and co were overturned in Manchester and two goals from Captain Marvel Bryan Robsonv- added to by Frank Stapleton's clincher - drove his United side to a sensational 3-0 victory and aggregate success in front of a delirious Old Trafford faithful. 

"That night against Barca was the best night of my career- the fans were outstanding and it was a superhuman effort to get us through and if we do that again on Thursday it will go down as United's greatest ever victory over Liverpool" said Robbo. 

Robson believes the advantage of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool from the encounter on Merseyside can similarly turn from despair to triumph for Louis van Gaal and his side. 

The frenzied atmosphere that night was arguably the best the stadium has ever witnessed, Anfield was a cauldron in the first game and a Stretford End inspired intimidating night could help tip the balance in the Reds favour. 

Liverpool at home and in Europe - even in the Europa League  - is enough to get Old Trafford bouncing. 

Bastian Schweinsteiger surely has to start on Thursday: his introduction against West Ham changed the game and, with the Reds chasing an early goal, his ability to dictate the game and set the tempo will be key.

He's not started a game since early January but Van Gaal is a fan of picking the German for the biggest games and - if he comes through unscathed - has to be considered for City on Sunday as well. 

Van Gaal has earned himself the reputation of being a cautious manager but that will have to change against Liverpool.

LVG has no choice - already 2-0 down and chasing the game, he has to send United out to attack.
Unfortunately, it's not something Van Gaal's United side have become known for and it's an approach that will play into Liverpool's hands, but that's the position we've left ourselves in. 

A single away goal for the visitors would surely end any lingering hope of a comeback, and there's a danger that United will leave themselves open to being caught on the break with Jurgen Klopp an exponent of "gegenpressing" counter attacks but the Reds have to accommodate that risk. 

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