When Manchester United and Leicester City step foot on the pristine Old Trafford turf on Sunday afternoon, you'll probably be able to hear the sound of thousands of knives being sharpened up and down the country.


These blades will not know their destiny for the next two hours however, and their victim's fate will be sealed in this tense Champions League shootout.


Solskjaer and Rodgers will meet again on Sunday afternoon

For either Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Brendan Rodgers, the time may have come to face the music.


But before we draw our weapons with glee on these two men, who are currently twiddling their thumbs in football purgatory, we should probably all take a deep breath, a step back, and just contemplate the bigger picture for a second.


For many, the next 90 minutes of football will define an entire season. Manchester United supporters will consider failure to qualify for the Champions League as an unequivocal disaster, while some Foxes will meet the same fate with equal disdain.


Given Leicester's blistering start and seemingly unassailable lead over the Red Devils for the majority of the campaign, you could probably see why. On 8 December 2019, Rodgers' men sat in second place in the Premier League, eight points behind Liverpool, but a whopping 14 points ahead of Manchester United, in fifth spot.


The Foxes had just beaten rivals Aston Villa 4-1 in their own backyard, and had put nine past Southampton two months earlier. There was simply no stopping this ruthless and attack-minded Leicester machine.


Those incredible highs feel a long, long time ago for the King Power faithful, who now stand on the brink of slipping into the Europa League spots, a consequence which is causing the lesser-stable within the fanbase to call for Rodgers' head.


If the days of whitewashing teams by nine-goal margins seem a distant memory, then it's no surprise many have completely wiped the lows of the torturous Claude Puel reign from their minds. A nightmarish defeat to Newport County in the FA Cup was followed up by a shocking run of results in the league, culminating in a 4-1 drubbing at home to Crystal Palace at the end of February 2019.


Languishing in 12th place, Puel was sent packing. Boring football, revolts within the camp, refusal to take cup competitions seriously and even making Jamie Vardy look like an average striker were the worst of the Frenchman's crimes, and they proved to be his undoing.


Leicester stars leave the field following a shock defeat to Newport County

Before him, there was flirts with relegation under Craig Shakespeare, and the same fears under Claudio Ranieri, after the miracle title success in 2016. Apart from one mad season, it's been far from sunshine and lollipops.


Right, now we're all familiar with the real Leicester City, we can look a bit closer at just what Rodgers has achieved since taking charge of his first game on 3 March 2019.


The Northern Irish boss left Scottish champions Celtic to take on a much greater challenge, bringing consistent success to a team that has only been a top-flight outfit since 2014. He won half of his ten league matches in charge at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, but more importantly, he rekindled the love between fans and players, and got the King Power rocking again. And that was down to him as a man, and as a manager.


Rodgers' excellent man-management skills have propelled him into the conversation as one of the best British bosses in modern day football, and it was his impressive coaching methods which helped carry Liverpool to within their first title in 25 years.


Rodgers was Liverpool boss for three years

Ultimately, taking the Reds to within a whisker of a trophy - which they had no right to win in the first place - has been twisted into a humiliating failure on the ex-Swansea coach's CV. And there are plenty of critics who will try to contort a fifth-place finish with this Leicester team into a devastating implosion, too.


But not only is that a reductive view of the situation, frankly, it's insulting, too.


Rodgers has taken the same group of players, (minus an £80m centre-back) which finished last season in ninth - and would have slumped much lower without his input - and catapulted them to within touching distance of their second trip to the Champions League.


The Foxes have produced some dazzling football, and their form was so relentless at the start of the season that the more optimistic supporters were dreaming of a second title success. Vardy has recaptured the scoring touch he temporarily misplaced, posting his best numbers since lifting the Premier League trophy - and a brace over Man Utd would make this year his very best in the top flight.


As mentioned, Rodgers has also worked admirably around the loss of their star defender, Harry Maguire. Without making pleas for investment or demanding a replacement from the board, he has introduced Çağlar Söyüncü into the fold, and the Turkish star has adapted so quickly that the name Maguire is long-forgotten at the King Power.


James Maddison has become one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe under Rodgers' tutelage, and the extremely-talented Youri Tielemans is being tipped for a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid in the near future.


Without doubt, the Leicester boss has improved each and every player in this team, and had it not been for injuries to the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Maddison, then Champions League football would probably be wrapped up by now.


And Rodgers has achieved all of this so seamlessly and swiftly, that everybody has assumed these levels are the norm for this club. But they're not. Instead of receiving the rightful praise for these feats, the coach is being beaten with the other end of the stick.


Rodgers is known for his excellent man-management skills

Once again, the former Liverpool boss' ability to motivate a team into overachieving for large parts of a season will be used against him when the table ultimately levels out, and those with the mega riches at their disposal return to their thrones.


And Leicester have fought against the inevitable tide admirably.


Should the Foxes pull off the all-important victory in Manchester on Sunday afternoon, or even if they fall to a crushing defeat, their season must categorically be remembered as a success. Miracles aside, this is the best and most accomplished Leicester team in Premier League history, and Rodgers' work is far from over.


So let's just put the knives away, and enjoy the football for one last time this season, shall we?