Don't write off Liverpool, says Gary Lim
Liverpool needed a wake-up call and boy, did they get one right smack in the head.
Bye bye, Champions League, and hello Europa Disneyland.
Basel gave them one black eye and Manchester United are poised to make that a pair.
At Old Trafford today, Liverpool won't be standing much of a chance.
Well, at least that's what everyone is saying. If you're a betting man I'd say the same.
In keeping with the tradition of Calamity James, they have now a Mignolet Mishap in goal.
The backline can't stand in a straight line and a circus has taken over the midfield.
Up front, they are firing air pellets.
Months of mediocrity have taken a toll on Liverpool's confidence. It can't get any worse.
But that's exactly where the danger lies, in wait, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting.
Where Liverpool are now, buried in mid-table shambles, they have nothing to lose. And this is usually how the hunter becomes the hunted.
This was how Malaysia, against the odds, tore Vietnam to shreds in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-finals.
Man United may be flying at the moment. They have won five matches on the trot and shown vast improvement.
But they are also not without problems of their own.
They have a lengthy injury list that has debilitated their squad, and their new players need time to gel.
Manager Louis van Gaal is also still fumbling about with a weakened and unreliable defence.
This is where Liverpool must strike.
They are down but they are not out.
Amid the ordinariness, three attacking men - Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana - have the right weapons in their arsenal to make the Red Devils pay, especially if complacency creeps into the their camp.
Make no mistake, van Gaal's men still hold the upper hand.
Despite their problems, they headed into this weekend third on the Premiership table and look decidedly more confident than they were at the start of the campaign.
But the occasion suits Liverpool more than United.
Nothing like a grudge match to pump the adrenalin and stir the emotions.
Nothing like pain to remind them of what they are capable of.
It won't guarantee them a fine performance or a good result. But it will at least put life back into the soulless bodies that have been donning the red of Merseyside for far too long.
It's exactly what Liverpool need, not a prolific goal-scorer, a swashbuckling midfielder or a rock-solid defender.
Some passion today can go a long way.