Date: 11th January 2013 at 2:29am
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'Stevie G' gets an early bath for a reckless challenge on Carrick in the FA Cup

‘Stevie G’ gets an early bath for a reckless challenge on Carrick in the FA Cup

All the talk ahead of United versus Liverpool this Sunday seems to be on whether Robin Van Persie or Luis Suarez will be the one to tip the balance in favour of either side.

While there’s no denying both the Dutchman and the cheating… sorry, the Uruguayan are both going to have a big say in the outcome, the real key battle may actually be between two Englishmen.

Steven Gerrard has rediscovered his goal scoring touch with three in his last five, not to mention providing many of the assists that Suarez has benefited from. If Liverpool are to have any chance of causing an upset against a side 21 points above them in ┬áthe table then there’s no doubt they’re going to need their skipper firing on all cylinders.

The problem facing both Liverpool and Gerrard is the ‘fact’ a certain underrated midfielder is currently enjoying the best form of his career and has dominated the likes of Yaya Toure this season as he’s made sure Sir Alex’s reluctance to buy a CM hasn’t cost him too dearly.

Michael Carrick has been outstanding of late and while it would be foolish to try and measure his contribution in terms of goals- or lack of them- or assists, the ‘facts’ speak for themselves. United sit top of the Barclays Premier League by seven points and Carrick has played all but one of the 21 games that have taken them there- against bottom side Queens Park Rangers.

Carrick has been described by Rio Ferdinand as the man who ‘can put out fires before they start’ and if United’s seasoned midfielder can keep Gerrard quiet on Sunday then you’d fully expect the side at the top of the table to defeat the one currently sat in eighth.

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