Torres picking form at right time but Rooney is the man

One player stands out above all others this season, Wayne Rooney is in the form of his life. He is carrying the Manchester United team on his shoulders, relishing in the spot left by Ronaldo.

One player stands out above all others this season, Wayne Rooney is in the form of his life. He is carrying the Manchester United team on his shoulders, relishing in the spot left by Ronaldo.

Man Utd is a machine and if you can work the machine then you get goals, all is channeled to you, like Cantona, Cole, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, and now Rooney.

For Liverpool it is a different story, the team has crumbled under off-field pressures caused by boardroom wrangles. Steven Gerrard has looked a shadow of himself, he has carried his team for 8 years and the strain is showing.

He has Torres and Ben Ayoun back, Aquilani is fit and firing, even Babel is on form.

United should set out to attack; the crowd expects it and Rooney will be at the center of it. Fletcher and Scholes are the perfect midfield partnership.

The power and passing of Fletcher with the vision of Paul Scholes. Nani has been amazing in recent games, funneling balls into Rooney. Ji Sung Park is also playing well, and should make up the 4-man midfield.

Berbatov should link up with Rooney, he hasn’t been fit this year but has shown touches of brilliance that made Man U pay £30m.

The subliminal relationship with Rooney is taking shape, Berbatov is like Ibrahimovich and loves back-heels and dinky passes.

The wings will be crucial to United, as Liverpool are a very central team, Nani breaks well on the counter and will be crucial in tilting the game.

Liverpool has Torres back, which gives them a chance in any game. His injury caused loss of morale and a dip in form, now he is back and on form like he was never away.

Dirk Kuyt is always crucial in games like this, his hustling game is crucial to sniffing out chances. Benitez ought to set out his stall conservatively, Lucas, Mascherano, in the middle and wingers tucked in.

Gerrard is crucial still, he can turn a game on its head, and he will try to exploit space opened up by Kuyt. Benayoun rarely starts but should, he adds attacking flair from the middle, but Rafa prefers him as a sub to change the game later.

Babel would be a great starter but he is on the bench mostly, Kuyt would have to be dropped for him and he cannot match the work-rate of his countryman.
Mistakes often determine these games, so team set out cautiously.

The tactical interplay between Ferguson and Benitez means formations can be changed every 2 minutes and no football is played. Last year these two were matched but this year Ferguson has the edge.

Rooney is in danger of burnout but he is playing amazingly, I expect him to change the game. Liverpool will be playing for pride and might sneak a draw. Torres should score to restore his pride but Rooney to equalize or win it.

ramaisibo@hotmail.com

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