Keeping the returning Luis Suarez quiet could be key to Manchester United beating Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, says ex-Red Devil Gary Pallister
“There’s no hiding place for the Manchester United players,” Old Trafford legend Gary Pallister has told football-league.co.uk as the Red Devils prepare for a Third Round Capital One Cup tie at home to Liverpool just three days after the embarrassment of their 4-1 Premier League hiding at Manchester City.
As a former central defender who starred for United and England during the 1990s, Pallister watched in horror as United capitulated at the Etihad Stadium.
And now they have to face a Liverpool team that will feature the return to action of Luis Suarez, one of the world’s top strikers, following the Uruguayan’s completion of his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April.
Pallister said: “United didn’t turn up at City, there were so many basic errors and City thoroughly deserved their victory. There’ll be no hiding place now against Liverpool because, like City, they are massive rivals and they’ll desperately want to win this match after their own surprise defeat by Southampton on Saturday.
“Suarez coming back into the Liverpool team will certainly add spice to the occasion, and although he won’t be fully match fit he’ll be a really big danger.
“He’s touched by genius. He’s got great touch and awareness, a great eye for goal and without question he’s a world class player who can trouble any defence.”
Suarez has also troubled the football authorities, his 10-match suspension following an eight-match ban for racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra in December 2011, and during this year’s close season he annoyed the Liverpool supporters as he agitated for a move away from Anfield.
Meanwhile, United striker Wayne Rooney, likewise the subject of frenzied transfer speculation this summer, refused to comment on the likelihood of leaving the club and has made a fine start to the new campaign.
Pallister said: “Suarez should take a leaf out of Wayne’s book. When all the transfer talk was going on Wayne said nothing, kept his own counsel and he’s shown his commitment to United with a great start to the season.
“Suarez has got to build some bridges in the eyes of the Liverpool fans. What he did in the summer was disrespectful, and a lot of the fans will feel he owes them a big response to prove that he’s committed to the shirt and the club.”
Without Suarez the Reds beat United 1-0 at Anfield in the Premier League earlier this month, and they are unbeaten in six away matches in all competitions.
They have also won their last six Capital One Cup matches on the road – but that record does not stack up when compared to recent trips to Old Trafford.
United have won their last five home matches in all competitions against their rivals from down the M62 and also have a good League Cup record against them, most notably beating them in the 1983 and 2003 finals.
Pallister, who almost joined Liverpool before United signed him from Middlesbrough in 1989, was a League Cup winner in 1992 and would love to see it brought back to Old Trafford again this season for what would be a fifth time.
But he is looking no further than Wednesday night. “It’s going to be another big clash of the two most successful teams in the history of English football,” he said.
“Whenever the teams meet there’s lots of kudos involved as well as pride and passion, and with both sides hurting from their defeats on the weekend it’s going to be a cracking match. United can edge it, but it should be really tight.”