Premier League legend Alan Shearer opens up on English football's historic rivals ahead of their weekend fixture. Photograph:( WION )
In an exclusive interview with WION, former England football player Alan Shearer talks about his second visit to India, the English Premier League, the Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry and much more...
Q: This is your second trip to India, you've seen this and done this before in Mumbai. What do you expect from this one here in Bengaluru and how it'll be better this time?
Shearer: It was a great experience in Mumbai earlier this year to be a part of that. It showed how much India loves football. We are here to pass on our expertise from the Premier League to the Indian Super League which is getting bigger and better.
We are here to improve the fan experience. I'm reliably told there are close to forty thousand fans expected to be here at the Premier League Live Screening in Bengaluru over Saturday and Sunday.
Q: When so many fans get together, there's always going to be banter. There will be when there's such a big game to look forward to? When you meet your fellow legends is there a lot of banter as well?
Shearer: A lot of us don't know each other. But we've come together after we've finished playing as we meet each other a lot while doing media events. You always have a bit of a laugh as we have a lot of banter.
Back in the day, it was all serious business out on the pitch. But now when we look back and reflect, we feel perhaps we shouldn't have been that aggressive at that moment.
We all wanted to win at that time and wouldn't have it any other way. It feels good to catch up with these great players again.
Q: Coming to that big match, the biggest game of the English season. History, heated rivalry. Where could it be decided?
Shearer: It is a huge fixture in the Premier League calendar because of the size of the clubs, fans, tradition and history. These two giants have dominated English football for a long time. Liverpool have even dominated in Europe as well.
They are popular not only in England but also across the world. As for the match on Saturday, Jose Mourinho and his boys will try to frustrate Liverpool. Liverpool only have one plan when they take the field.
They will try to press and win the ball in the Man Utd half.
I was in attendance at Anfield couple of weeks back when they played Newcastle United. They created so many chances they could've been cruising comfortably at half-time but they failed to take them.
But then there's the same old problem that is the defence where they are too wide open. Newcastle got the equaliser and they lost two points.
Liverpool have no chance of winning the Premier League when they play like that. They haven't improved their defence from last season. And if they don't improve, they won't win the league.
Having said that, given how Liverpool have performed against the big teams, I wouldn't be surprised if they go out there and get a result against Manchester United.
Q: Interesting point you're bringing up. Why is it that Liverpool seem to show up for the big matches and why do they tend slip up against the bottom teams?
Shearer: A lot of teams go out there and fancy their chances against Liverpool. That actually suits them because Liverpool have a plethora of attacking talent. But when teams sit deeper, play compact and frustrate them. I think Manchester United will try and do that.
Q: They did that last year, Jose Mourinho tried to park the bus. And succeeded to an extent. Do you think a similar result will be in store this time round?
Shearer: I think Mourinho and Manchester United will go to Anfield to try and frustrate them. They will keep it tight at the back. Although Mourinho has a better team this time than he did last season.
They're scoring more goals as well. I still think Mourinho will go out there and try to pull off a typical Mourinho Masterclass that is he'll try to frustrate Liverpool.
Q: If Manchester United fail to get three points from this fixture, would it be significant?
Shearer: If Manchester United don't get the three points, it will damage their title credentials obviously. But if Liverpool are to be beaten then they are out of the title race.
They will be 10 points behind United, so they can't afford that. If United don't get the three points it'll be hard for them to digest, but it won't be a disaster.