Marcus Rashford says he has never had to be told how special the rivalry is between Manchester United and Liverpool.
During his development in United's Academy, the 21-year-old came up against the Merseysiders a number of times and understands how intense an occasion it will be, as always, at Anfield this afternoon. Jurgen Klopp’s in-form side know they will return to pole position in the Premier League if they beat their fiercest rivals, while Rashford and his team-mates are desperate to start building a run of top-flight wins.
When asked by MUTV if he knows exactly what these contests are all about, United's no.10 replied:
“Yes, you never have to be told.
“Not once have I been told what these games are like because even in my first game against Liverpool, when I was nine years old, I could feel it.
Rashford, who has scored in his last two outings – against Fulham and Valencia – insists Jose Mourinho's men will not merely be looking to stifle Liverpool in front of their home fans. United have not conceded in the last three league meetings at Anfield and won 1-0 there in 2016 with a Wayne Rooney goal towards the end.
“Your family or people who have been around this type of environment before, going into games for years, never once told me what it’s like to play against Liverpool because, when you go into the game, you feel it. There are only a couple of games which have that special feeling.”
While that might suggest a cautious approach could be beneficial again, the forward believes otherwise.
“Yes, but we want to win,” he asserted.
“We’ve had a few draws there which is okay but, ideally, we want to win these games. We want to find a way to win the game, not just go there, draw and go home. I believe we can do it [win] and the team believes we can do it, so we have to go into the game with that mindset but think clearly. We can’t be rash and emotional throughout the game.”
Rashford scored twice against Liverpool in the Old Trafford clash last term, in a 2-1 triumph, and is hoping a similar result can provide a huge boost for his side ahead of a busy Christmas period.
“That was a special feeling for me,” he recalled.
“It’s probably the biggest feeling I’ve ever had at Old Trafford, to be honest. The atmosphere that day was crazy and moments like that live on forever.
“If we get a good result at Anfield, mentally for the players and the staff, it can turn the season around and maybe that can kickstart us into becoming more consistent, which is what we need.
“I think, right now, we can’t focus on other teams. The main thing is trying to get our performance to a higher level. We just have to keep fighting to get out of the situation we’re in.”
Rashford has been in exceptional form of late and earned praise from manager Jose Mourinho, who has already indicated he will start with the homegrown talent in the big match. He could well be a key figure again at Anfield, against one of the meanest defences in the country.Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.