Rooney could well be the difference in United-Liverpool clash

Wayne Rooney

The England international forward is a doubt for Sunday’s clash at Anfield, which would be a real boost for the hosts.

Wayne Rooney’s future has been a hot topic of conversation all-summer long, but with the forward now staying at Manchester United he has an important role to play.

United’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday promises to be a passionate and potentially explosive clash between two teams that are more-evenly matched now than they have been in some time.

Liverpool have shown industry in the transfer market this summer and are starting to deploy Brendan Rodgers’ possession football on the pitch. The Reds have won their first two Premier League games of the season and will look to claim the scalp of the champions to show that they are ready to stake a claim for the top four.

United have been solid in their start but have still not signed any new players of note. The problem of a lack of creativity in the Old Trafford side in central areas still remains, and is a key reason why David Moyes will be reliant on Rooney this term.

In a close game like the one against Liverpool is expected to be, no-one will have time on the ball and the Reds will be difficult to break down in front of their home fans. Someone like Rooney has the positional sense and eye for a killer pass to decide the game, as he floats in between the opponents’ defence and midfield.

Without him, United look slightly one-dimensional and lack a player able to unlock a defence. Yes, Danny Welbeck has started the season well and will partner Robin van Persie in attack should Rooney be unavailable, but he lacks the finesse and creativity that the former Everton prodigy possesses.

The search for a creative midfielder continues at Old Trafford, with Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera the latest to be linked with a move to the Premier League champions. However, with less than 48 hours for United to secure his or someone of his ilk’s signature, they may well have left it too late in the day.

Should no new faces arrive to fill the creative gap left by Paul Scholes, Rooney’s importance to United cannot be overstated. The England man is an out-and-out match-winner and Moyes will rely on him to offer the creativity that his side is currently missing.

For Liverpool, an opposition team with Rooney in it is certainly much more able than a team without him, and Brendan Rodgers will sigh with relief should the England man not be fit to play at Anfield this afternoon.

image: © nasmac

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