Forget the media-driven circus off the field, the place to keep your eyes this afternoon is on the pitch as Manchester United are the guests at Anfield for this 4th round cup tie.
Liverpool were outstanding on Wednesday as they sent Manchester City out of the Carling Cup and booked a place at Wembley, more of the same today could see Kenny Dalglish’s side in contention for a second trip to the new version of what used to be known as Anfield south.
Both sides should be up for this, even allowing for the usual motivation this fixture brings. Manchester United in particular might fear this is their main hope for silverware this season if their neighbours continue to keep them off top spot in the league. “Liverpool exist to win trophies,” so the old saying goes, and one man who is likely to have that belief is Mr Dalglish.
Andy Carroll was on the bench on Wednesday with Craig Bellamy keeping him out – and deservedly so given the performance Bellamy put in. Carroll starts today with Bellamy on the bench. Dirk Kuyt put in arguably his best performance of the season on Wednesday but he also drops to the bench, his replacement is Maxi Rodriguez.
At the back Martin Kelly comes in for Glen Johnson and Jamie Carragher also starts. Whether he plays in midfield – he’s in the side at the expense of Charlie Adam – remains to be seen, but it looks like Kenny is planning to use three centre-backs.
For the other lot Wayne Rooney is out of the starting line up, Patrice Evra starts as captain with veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes also in from the off.
Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Agger, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Downing, Maxi, Carroll.
Subs: Doni, Johnson, Coates, Kuyt, Adam, Shelvey, Bellamy.
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Valencia, Welbeck, Park.
Subs: Lindegaard, Fabio, Ferdinand, M Keane, Pogba, Berbatov, Hernandez.