Marcus Rashford is relishing the chance to kick-start Manchester United’s wretched season against bitter rivals Liverpool on Monday evening.
The hope and optimism that followed a promising pre-season under new manager Erik ten Hag evaporated during a chastening start to the campaign.
The Old Trafford giants are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton was compounded by last weekend’s 4-0 humiliation at Brentford.
United will attempt to avoid starting the season with three straight losses for the first time since 1986 when Liverpool come to town – a match homegrown talent Rashford always looks forward to.
“To be honest, I feel exactly the same (as in the past),” he said.
“Against anyone, you want to win but against your Liverpools and Manchester Citys, you want to prove why you play for Manchester United.
“Winning against Liverpool is the same feeling as when I was a kid.”
Asked if scoring against Liverpool meant more, Rashford – who has struck five times in this fixture – told club media: “Yeah, I’d probably say so.
“After the game, you realise a goal’s a goal and you need to score them against any team.
“But the initial feeling is massive and it’s something that you crave as a player and I don’t think that ever leaves you.”
United will need to improve markedly if they are to stand any chance of laying a glove on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
Ten Hag said he did not see the right attitude and required “fighting spirit” from the outset in the humbling at Brentford – qualities he said will be needed “especially Monday night” against rivals Liverpool.
“For me, (giving 100 per cent) is a non-negotiable at the club,” Rashford told Sky Sports.
“Your situation at the club always changes. Sometimes you have good spells, sometimes you’re not in a good spell.
“But the one thing that has to remain the same is your dedication and your commitment to training and the games.
“So, I feel like whatever the situation is I have to give 100 per cent for myself, and for my family, friends and the fans.”
Monday’s match will be played out to a backdrop of protests as United supporters let their anger be known at the despised owners.
Fans are at their wits’ end with the Glazer family and recently-formed supporters group The 1958 are leading their latest – and potentially loudest – protest against them before kick-off.
Ten Hag admitted he was not au fait with supporters’ deep-seated resentment having only recently joined the club and called for unity ahead of a clash that Rashford says the fans have always been brilliant in.
“From what I can remember, when we’ve beaten Liverpool, the fans have helped us massively,” added the forward, who has been linked to Paris St Germain.
“It’s always a difficult game physically and mentally, so we’ll definitely need them.
“They’ll be up for the game, they’ll want to beat Liverpool just as much as we do.”