Manchester United always face a ‘hard test’ at Anfield, says Tony Coton

Tony Coton insists Manchester United will always face a "hard test" against Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United always face a “hard test” when they travel to face Liverpool at Anfield but there has been a shift in the importance of the historic fixture, says Tony Coton.

Jose Mourinho has enjoyed an unbeaten start to his second season in charge at Old Trafford and will meet Jurgen Klopp’s side on Saturday lunchtime, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

Manchester United lie second in the table, trailing their neighbours Manchester City on goal difference, and will look to move 10 points clear of Liverpool with a victory, but the former United goalkeeping coach suggests the meeting will be a “good benchmark” of their title credentials.

“It’s always a hard test when you are going to Anfield,” Coton said. “You know what those games are like. This will be a test of where Manchester United stand. If they go there and get a victory the momentum is all going forward.”

Coton now believes that the standout fixture in the domestic campaign for United is when they meet their city rivals, who appear set to provide the strongest opposition in their bid to claim their 21st league title and their first since the 2012-13 season.

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“For people in and around Manchester United, when I was there, Liverpool was the big one. That’s completely changed now – it’s City [and] United now. But going to Anfield is always a tough test. They always want to get one over the other. It will be a good benchmark this weekend.”

Coton, a former Manchester City goalkeeper, believes the Premier League trophy will be heading back to Manchester from London and was also keen to praise the importance and impact of summer signing Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, who has been an ever-present fixture in Mourinho’s side so far this season.

He said: “I said a couple of weeks into the season that the Premier League will end up back in Manchester and I think I will be proven right at the end of the season.

“They are both good to watch but Jose, in Matic, has brought that steel to the midfield – what a great signing he has proven to be. Jose always starts them out to be hard to beat first and foremost and they are proving that. With Rashford, Martial and the flair players in the team it is exciting times ahead for Manchester United.”

Coton thinks City are beginning to show their full potential under Pep Guardiola this campaign after a disappointing showing in the former Barcelona manager’s first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium.

“You know with Pep’s team that is what he is going to bring,” added Coton. “It has taken them a little while. He has got a nice blend now and in De Bruyne and David Silva they have got creative players in that midfield area for the likes of Aguero and Jesus. It’s a pleasure to be a City fan at the moment.

“It takes time to stamp your authority on a side and a club. Both managers are doing that now.”

There To Be Shot At: The Autobiography of Tony Coton, was published by deCoubertin Books on September 21.