Sunday 20 August 2017 / 01:00 AM

United Out To Stake Claim At Liverpool

With David Moyes’ honeymoon period at Manchester United over, it’s fair to say it has been a respectable start to the season thus far for the defending Premier League champions.

A bloodless 1-4 success away at Swansea was followed up by a rather bore 0-0 draw at home to title rivals Chelsea, leaving many Red Devils supporters satisfied, if not quite electrified by the general feel and outlook of their team in these very early days under the new reign at Old Trafford.

This weekend sees United travel to face bitter adversaries Liverpool who have themselves began positively with two wins out of two – and a stalemate is not the hardest result to envisage with both teams likely to be fearing a momentum damaging defeat heading into the international break.

One feels however that it is the visitors who will be equally anxious to secure a vital three points in order to keep up with the early pace setters.

Moyes knows that a victory at Anfield so early into his tenure would really set his stall out and lay a marker of intent to the rest of the country.

And being a former Everton boss will also make success on the red half of Merseyside on his first return with United will taste a whole lot sweeter.

The young Scot appears to be devoid of pressure, his calm and collected nature undoubtedly one of the attributes which made him a chosen successor to Sir Alex Ferguson who was the epitomy of self belief and composure.

But away from the cameras, Moyes must be aware of the dangers of failure and even the prospect of an underwhelming first campaign at the helm.

It is certainly far from easy to walk into such a coveted hotseat – and credit to Moyes for his genuine nature and confidence at maintaining he is his own man and is not at the club to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.

Nevertheless, the media and fan base alike will be quick to turn should United fall behind the other title challengers in the opening months of the season.

Their conservative approach against Chelsea seemed out of character for a team who has always sought to dominate on home turf, launching attack upon attack and shot after shot to force the inevitability that the visiting side will, at some stage, cave in.

Chelsea nonchalantly walked away with a point in midweek relatively untroubled, albeit without causing United any great danger themselves.

Against Liverpool on Sunday, Moyes has to back his men to go and take the game to their opponents who are on the main worse off on a man to man basis and lacking the top gear that United are capable of hitting so frequently.

It could be simple to send the current United XI to be solid at Anfield and ensure a point, but Moyes must grab the initiative and kick start his charges to prove they are again the real deal.

A fascinating encounter for sure, it could be the beginning of what is really to come from Moyes at United as his tactics and style come under the spotlight.

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Chris Kisby

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