Buoyed by Luis Suarez’s return, Liverpool will visit Manchester United in the League Cup on Wednesday eager to inflict more misery on a team reeling from a brutal derby defeat.
Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Manchester City completed United’s worst start to a season in nine years and prompted renewed scrutiny of new manager David Moyes’s methods. Since succeeding Alex Ferguson, Moyes has seen his side beaten by Liverpool and City and held to a 0-0 draw by Chelsea, leaving them five points off the pace in the Premier League.
Another loss to Liverpool would only add weight to the steadily creeping doubts about his aptitude for the job, but Wayne Rooney believes Wednesday’s game has arrived at just the right time.
“We have all grown up, whether it is Manchester, Liverpool or somewhere else, having local derbies,” Rooney said.
“It is not nice when you lose one. Thankfully we have another massive game against Liverpool. It is the ideal game for us. Any game against Liverpool is massive.
Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United’s game against Liverpool has come at the right time. AP photo
We have to try and get the victory so we can put this defeat to the back of our minds.”
However, they will have to do without striker Robin van Persie who is still nursing a groin injury.
Rooney appears to have put an unsettled close-season to the back of his mind, scoring four goals in his last three games, and Liverpool will hope that Suarez is able to draw a line beneath his own recent trials and tribulations.
The Uruguayan will be playing in his first official club game since April 21, having now completed a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers chose an unfortunate turn of phrase when he said the striker was “champing at the bit”, but Suarez’s return falls at a timely juncture after Saturday’s surprise 1-0 loss at home to Southampton.