By 90Min
March 09, 2018

Bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool face off at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime - and one man has revealed the secrets behind beating United in the past.

Former Liverpool scout Alex Miller - a one-time teammate of legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson - spoke at length to ESPN about the Merseysiders' former stranglehold over their Premier League counterparts.

Liverpool went five matches unbeaten against the Red Devils between December 2000 and January 2002 when Gerard Houllier was the man in the dugout at Anfield.

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That unexpected dominance was brought into focus by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, who revealed recently that his side's secret weapon in the battle against United was Miller.

Miller was an ex-teammate of Ferguson's at Rangers many moons ago and was brought to Liverpool by Houllier in 1999 to take up the role of director of scouting.

And Miller, whose relationship with Ferguson continued long after the parted ways in Glasgow, explained how he used his knowledge of how United played to pick apart Ferguson's system and tactics whenever the north west rivals locked horns.

He said: "He had a 4-4-2 set up. What he tries to do is get so many between the lines that it's so difficult for you as a team to combat that because if you draw a line across a page, there's maybe six lines.

"His back four, two central defenders sort of split -- not wide like they do now, but they split a wee bit. The two full-backs pushed on maybe 10, 15 metres. Their two central midfield players split. One would come to the ball -- Roy Keane -- and one would go in an advanced position -- Paul Scholes.

"Their two wide players -- [David] Beckham and [Ryan] Giggs -- would then be in another line. You've got one holding midfield player, one advanced midfield player, you've got Beckham and Giggs in between these two. The two strikers always played one and one.

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"What we did to combat that was we tried to get three versus two all the time. We had sort of a 4-1-3-1-1 formation -- one man off a striker.

"One striker picked up the area of their withdrawn midfield player. Whatever side of the pitch the ball was on, we would have a full-back, a midfield player and one of the front players to get over to the side if it went to the side. They had a full-back and a wide player, so we had three versus two. If it went the opposite side, we had three versus two.

"We always had to have three versus two. That's 18 years ago, even more, and no team was getting in between the lines at that sort of stage. That's why it was so difficult to sort of combat them."

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