UNITED Rom’s on a roll but will there be an un­likely hero?

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By STU­ART MATHIESON stu­art.mathieson@men-news.co.uk @StuMathiesonMEN

ROMELU Lukaku is on a roll that could see him join an elite list of United goalscor­ers who’ve achieved cult sta­tus by scor­ing at An­field against Liver­pool.

Gary Neville once told Diego For­lan after his dou­ble in the fix­ture in De­cem­ber 2002 that no mat­ter what else the Uruguayan did or didn’t do in his Old Traf­ford ca­reer in the fu­ture he had be­come an overnight le­gend.

This week Neville was do­ing a Sky TV re­flec­tions piece on his matches against Liver­pool and was shown slic­ing a long-range shot – al­most hit­ting the cor­ner flag – be­cause he got so ex­cited thinking his dream of scor­ing at the Kop End was about to come true.

For­lan’s name will no doubt be sung on Satur­day in the vis­i­tors sec­tion in the An­field Road stand. After all, he did make the Scousers cry.

Most of United’s recog­nised strik­ers have scored at Liver­pool – Wayne Rooney, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Robin van Per­sie.

But there have been some un­likely goal he­roes emerg­ing from the fix­ture. Could this be the mo­ment that Eric Bailly or Phil Jones, for in­stance, ce­ment their le­gend.

Back in April 1997 Sir Alex Fer­gu­son’s Reds were head­ing to­wards the Premier League ti­tle and Liver­pool were keen to de­rail it.

But it was Gary Pal­lis­ter who stole the show.

He thun­dered in two head­ers from cor­ners, one from the right side and one from the left – and both in front of the seething mass of the Kop. He’d only scored one all sea­son prior to that.

“That is one of my best mo­ments in foot­ball, scor­ing in front of the Kop,” has said.

“The gaffer was in com­plete shock, I think – it was the only time in my ca­reer that I got two in one match.” Pally’s con­tri­bu­tion was cru­cial in a 3-1 win. United went on to win the ti­tle and the de­fender en­tered the Hall of Fame.

March 2007 wasn’t a clas­sic Reds per­for­mance at An­field. Fergie ad­mit­ted they were very poor and had also had Paul Sc­holes sent off.

The match was head­ing for a 0-0 stale­mate when Pepe Reina fum­bled a Cris­tiano Ron­aldo free-kick.

The preda­tor who gob­bled up the loose ball? John O’Shea. His col­leagues strug­gled to con­tain him as he ran off wildly cel­e­brat­ing the last­minute win­ner. United went on to win the ti­tle later that spring.

Brazil­ian full-back Rafael wasn’t a renowned goalscorer for United but saved his best for An­field when he curled in a left foot shot after Shinji Ka­gawa had chested the ball into his path.

It was a spec­tac­u­lar equaliser and set Van Per­sie for a late penalty win­ner.

Once again United went on to win the ti­tle.

Is there a Pal­lis­ter, O’Shea or Rafael in wait­ing out there?

Diego For­lan ce­mented leg­endary sta­tus for United after a brace against Liver­pool in 2002

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