Parker: Rodgers has lost the dressing room
Our analyst tells GARY LIM the Reds boss has lost the confidence of the dressing room
MAN UNITED v LIVERPOOL
(Tomorrow, 12.30am, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)
1 Liverpool looked all over the place when they lost 3-0 at home to West Ham. What's wrong with them?
PARKER: When a bit of negativity entered their game against West Ham, Liverpool couldn't deal with it. They didn't know what to do.
When I was playing, if you went 1-0 up against Liverpool, you wanted it to be in the 89th minute, to give yourself a chance.
Against West Ham, when it was 1-0, I thought that was okay. Then 2-0, I wondered to myself what was going on? The 3-0 result tells you something is still wrong at Liverpool.
They can turn it around and call it a blip. But a team like Liverpool can't lose 3-0 at home to West Ham. They haven't got a manager who walk the talk.
They look brittle. You can't say that they have strengthened from last season.
Defensively, they aren't better. The centre halves and goalkeeper have been consistently weak.
And if you take away Philippe Coutinho, who's suspended for this game, you wonder where the improvisation is going to come from.
If you are looking for players to be mentally strong, sometimes you have to look at who they have brought in.
The players have to believe that they can really compete.
2 Would you go as far as saying that Rodgers must go if Liverpool lose to Man United?
I don't think Rodgers is one of those who is going to fall on his own sword. He's always going to have to be pushed.
Liverpool need Champions League football year after year. They need to do something, and make a decision quickly.
When they almost won the league two seasons ago, it was all down to one individual (Luis Suarez).
Last season, Suarez left and Rodgers was allowed to spend. But things didn't happen for them.
3 If you are to point out Liverpool's biggest weakness, what is it?
I don't know if the players can be sure that Brendan Rodgers is going to be there for long.
They probably don't have the belief that he is going to be safe in his job.
Players need calm and stability, they need to know the manager is going to be there for the next game.
4 Do you think getting his record 50th England goal will spark Wayne Rooney to life?
People said he was going to bounce back after his hat-trick against Club Brugge, but that didn't happen.
His last two goals for England, against San Marino and Switzerland, came from the spot. He took 107 games to score 50 goals, and plenty of them came against smaller countries.
Bobby Charlton's goals came against top teams. Rooney needs to start scoring in the big games.
5 Do you think it's a matter of poor form?
He can't play as the centre forward, who is always on the last man, on the shoulder.
Sergio Aguero makes a massive difference for Manchester City. He sits on the edge, creates space for teammates to run into. That's because opponents drop further and further back, as they are scared of his pace. Rooney can't do that anymore.
Where he wants to play (as a No. 10), United have got better players. Will you play Rooney, when Juan Mata is a better player in that position? That's the problem. And he can't do what Memphis Depay does in the wide areas because he doesn't have the change of pace.
6 How do you think the game will pan out?
United will win because, for Liverpool, there is too much pressure on Rodgers. That pressure will transfer to the players, and they will start to feel it. They haven't got a forward to really run behind United's defence, between the two centre halves.
If David de Gea is reinstated into the starting line-up, that will make the atmosphere even better at Old Trafford, and the defenders will be more confident as well.
Man United 2 Liverpool 0
- Paul Parker is an ex-England and Man United defender who won two EPL titles and earned 19 caps.
BY THE NUMBERS
Manchester United have won seven of their eight most recent meetings with Liverpool in all competitions at Old Trafford, losing the other.
There hasn't been a draw between these sides at Old Trafford since March 2000 - they've had 17 meetings since in all competitions.
This Premier League fixture has produced 16 red cards. Only Everton v Liverpool (20) has seen more.
- Everton v Chelsea (7.45pm)
- Arsenal v Stoke City (10pm)
- Crystal Palace v Man City (10pm)
- Norwich v Bournemouth (10pm)
- Watford v Swansea (10pm)
- West Brom v Southampton (10pm)
- Sunderland v Tottenham (8.30pm)
- Leicester v Aston Villa (11pm)
- West Ham v Newcastle (3am)
'Perfect time to play United'
After crashing to a 3-0 home defeat by West Ham United last time out, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is pleased to be playing in "the biggest derby game in the history of the league" against Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
Liverpool won two and drew one of their opening matches without conceding a goal, but that run ended when West Ham won at Anfield for the first time since 1963.
Rodgers believes making the short trip to United can help his players quickly put that defeat behind them.
"Winning a game like this can give you psychological boost," he said at a press conference yesterday.
"United are a huge club and will always be under scrutiny.
"The intensity of this fixture is still there. The players will feel it.
"We've had two tough games away from home and performed well in terms of our organisation. We also want to be really creative.
"This is the biggest derby game in the history of this league. Winning a game like this can give you psychological boost."
Although Liverpool's nearest geographical neighbours are Everton and United are closer to Manchester City, the intensity of the rivalry between United and Liverpool down the decades overshadows both those more local conflicts.
Liverpool established the record number of English championships when they won their 18th in 1990.
Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson vowed to "knock Liverpool off their perch" after taking over at Old Trafford in 1986 and, by the time he retired two years ago, United had 13 more titles to take their total to a record 20.
Sky Sports has been highlighting the greats from both clubs' pasts in their advertising trailers for the match, but of more concern to Rodgers was the improving fitness of striker Daniel Sturridge who has not played since April.
Sturridge will not be ready, but Rodgers said Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson, who have both missed the last two matches with injuries, will be assessed before the game.
Last season, Liverpool went to Old Trafford and enjoyed the majority of chances only to lose 3-0, but Rodgers is confident there will be no repeat of the shambolic defensive performance against the Hammers.
Dejan Lovren came in for most criticism as his mistake led to the crucial second goal but his manager has backed the Croatia international to bounce back.
"Like all the players know, we performed below our level in that game but it was a collective," said Rodgers.
"We never stick the blame on one player. We fell below the standards in that game.
"Dejan knows he made a mistake and you have to live with that as a player. In his first three games, he showed he has that quality and consistency to defend well, so the key is letting go of the mistake and showing your character."
Liverpool will be without suspended Philippe Coutinho after his red card against West Ham, so striker Danny Ings or winger Jordon Ibe are in contention to start.
- Wire Services.