Romelu Lukaku has made an outstanding start to his Man Utd career with 11 goals in 10 games.
Romelu Lukaku has been warned his Manchester United career will be defined by games like Saturday’s showdown with Liverpool.
The Belgian striker has made an outstanding start to his United career – scoring 11 goals in 10 games since his £75m move from Everton.
But Gary Neville insists he needs to produce in the biggest games if he is to be considered among Old Trafford’s greatest forwards.
Lukaku scored three times in eight games against Liverpool when at Everton – with two of those goals coming in his very first Merseyside derby.
He has only scored once in his last seven appearances against them.
Neville insists the lunchtime kick off at Anfield will be his first major test at United.
He predicts another rearguard display from Jose Mourinho, following last season’s goalless draw in the same fixture.
“Romelu Lukaku has settled in brilliantly and done everything he was asked to do in terms of converting those home draws into wins, but games like this one are the real test,” the United legend told Sky Sports.
“When I look back to the Everton striker’s recent performances at Anfield he didn’t play well, so this is the next step up for him.
“Going away to Anfield is a big test and his service will be more limited so he’s now got to show the ruthless streak to win the big games for United.
“He will be defined by his performances in big matches. You’re at a club with aspirations of winning things and a world class striker will be defined by trophies and performances in big matches.”
Despite United’s thrilling start to the campaign, which sees them top the table, level on points with Manchester City, Neville expects a cautious approach from Mourinho.
The United manager was roundly criticised for his negative tactics on his last visit to Anfield almost 12 months ago to the day.
But Neville is convinced Mourinho’s side are better equipped to take all three points with their attacking options this time around.
He added: “I think Jose Mourinho will know on Saturday, after going there last season when he couldn’t afford to lose and with a team that weren’t in a good place, that he has a plan which can be effective.
“This time it is Liverpool who need to win this fixture and I would expect a lot more from United in terms of being on the front foot.
“It suits Mourinho in terms of his mentality. What I would expect is similar tactics from last season but with more ambition on the counter-attack.
“Paul Pogba is a big absence with his arrogance on the ball, so they will defend deep and be compact again, but whereas there was a back six at times away at Anfield last season, they can commit more on the break.”