Part of me feels the more you highlight the danger of something like this happening, the more the usual idiots will be tempted to let rip. In any case, by mid-afternoon, all will be revealed.
In football terms, one way of reading the showdown at Anfield is to look at the relative resources available to each club and assess how far Liverpool are from United. In terms of manpower, it doesn't make for pretty reading for them.
Goalkeeper is a position in which Liverpool enjoyed an advantage for a while, but Pepe Reina hasn't looked good for a while now and neither of his back-ups look like viable Premier League options. David de Gea, on the other hand, still looks like a gamble, but, at 21, one with plenty of levels still to go. And his back-up, Anders Lindegaard, has performed OK when called upon.
At the back, you could argue the starting four are comparable. But when you look at depth, there's a chasm. United could send out Alexander Buttner, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans as their second-string back four. Four guys aged between 20 and 24, acquired for close to £30 million, two of them capped for England, another who has 31 appearances for Northern Ireland plus Buttner, whose debut last week lit up Old Trafford.
And Liverpool? Well, Martin Kelly has one cap for England, earned after everybody else seemed to refuse Roy Hodgson's late pre-Euro 2012 call-ups. Jamie Carragher turns 35 in January and doesn't look like he'll play much this year. Sebastian Coates is one for the future, but eight Premier League appearances in a little over a year at Anfield suggest he's coming along slowly. And then you get into a world of Jack Robinsons, John Flanagans and Danny Wilsons, kids who are untried and untested.
Critics say United's central midfield has long cried out for an enforcer. And they're right. But if you take Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick as your starters, you've still got Anderson and Ashley Young, plus Darren Fletcher (who made his return last week) and the golden oldies, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as alternatives. (Not to mention Nick Powell, already hailed as the "new Scholes" by Sir Alex Ferguson).
At Anfield, once you move beyond the likely first-choice trio of Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Lucas, you're looking at Nuri Sahin (who couldn't get any playing time at Real Madrid last year), Jonjo Shelvey and the much-maligned Jordan Henderson.
And the front three? Here, it's no contest. Sir Alex can count on Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez (plus, if need be, Kagawa and Young can be drafted in up front). His counterpart, Brendan Rodgers, has Luis Suarez, Fabio Borini, Stewart Downing, Raheem Sterling (promising, but still 17), Oussam Assaidi (who has yet to feature in the Premier League) and Joe Cole, who is still around because they couldn't shift him. In terms of depth, it's a cereal bowl versus the Marianas Trench.
Some of Liverpool's problems are of Rodgers' own making, not least some of his transfer choices in the summer. But he's right when he says the gap with United won't be closed overnight or even in a couple of seasons. In terms of resources, it's just way too big.
On Wednesday night Chelsea let a two-goal home lead slip against Juventus in the Champions League. Once again, Fernando Torres was in the firing line. And, once again, Roberto di Matteo came out to defend his striker. "We're happy with him," he said. "Even when he doesn't score, he provides and works hard for the team. There is no issue for us."
Last year, those close to Torres said he struggled because he didn't feel the full confidence of the club and was rattled by the competition from Didier Drogba. This season, he has no such problem. Di Matteo says he won't be moving to a "strikerless system" like Spain at the Euros and that means the only alternatives to Torres are Daniel Sturridge (even more erratic than the Spaniard) or Victor Moses (who doesn't score much and hasn't played as a centreforward since his days in youth football).
Torres' return so far isn't terrible statisticially – three in seven in all competitions. But when you look at the guys who are supplying his service – Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and the outrageously gifted Oscar, who stole the show on Wednesday – you expect a lot more. Right now you almost wonder if Di Matteo isn't giving Torres enough rope to hang himself, metaphorically speaking.
Much was made last week of Jose Mourinho's celebration after Real Madrid's dramatic come-from-behind win over Manchester City. He was his usual feisty after-victory self following the match and rightly so.
It was a big win. But it doesn't change the fact that if Real have had their worst start to a season in a decade, the buck stops with him.
Who has near-total control over transfers after the removal of Jorge Valdano? Mourinho. Who shares an agent with Real Madrid's star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, who started the whole public malaise with his now- famous "I'm sad" announcement? Mourinho.
Who accused two or three players in his team – without naming them, leaving everyone open to speculation and inviting the media to engage in massive guesswork – of not being focused enough? Mourinho.
Whose idea was it to leave Sergio Ramos, Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema on the bench against City? Mourinho. (The latter three came on and turned the game.)
There is no big club in Europe this side of Old Trafford where one man enjoys as much control as Mourinho does at the Bernabeu. He has earned it with his work, just as he earns his enormous salary. But with great power comes great responsibility. And owning up, at least privately, to your mistakes is a part of that.
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