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