Match Preview: Liverpool v Manchester United

Match Preview: Liverpool v Manchester United

One of the greatest rivalries ever known to man takes center stage this Sunday as Manchester United travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool. Liverpool vs Manchester United – It doesn’t get bigger than this. Although it is not technically a derby, Liverpool vs Manchester United is the greatest rivalry in all of English football, maybe World Football. Separated by just 29.5 miles, the two clubs are the biggest in England. Between them,  they have won an incredible 121 trophies, with Manchester United edging it 62-59. Apart from being an on-field rivalry, the Liverpool-United rivalry existed since the industrialization times – when both cities were competing for supremacy in the North West. Manchester boasted the best Manufacturing industries where as Liverpool was significant for it’s port.

On-field, the two clubs with the greatest & most passionate supporters in England square up at Anfield in the biggest match of the season so far. Experienced referee Andre Marriner is the man tasked with the difficult job of officiating this rivalry.

Liverpool

Liverpool being led by England international Daniel Sturridge have been in great form thus far, the reds along with Tottenham are the only team with a 100% win record this season, without conceding a single goal. They currently find themselves languishing in second on the Premiership table. Daniel Sturridge in the absence of Talisman Luis Suarez has carried the club on his back, scoring the winner in both games. He is thriving this season playing as Liverpool’s number 9, with Brendan Rodgers putting his faith in the young-man. Daniel Sturridge has managed 12 goals in 16 games for Liverpool since he joining the club in January, 8 in the last 7. The reds head into the game coming off the back of an intense Capital One cup with league one club Notts County who took the game to extra-time before Sturridge & Henderson spared Liverpool’s blushes with two late goals. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Kolo Toure was stretched off the pitch making him a doubt for the game, while key players Sturridge, Johnson and Gerrard all played 2 hours of football – 4 days before a Liverpool-United game. For Liverpool, Skrtel could make a last-ditch comeback to take Toure’s place in the starting XI, if not, a young Andre Wisdom could deputize for reds, against Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Manchester United

For David Moyes, the baptism of fire continues.The former Everton manager has never beaten Liverpool at Anfield, matter of fact, he hasn’t managed a single victory over any of the traditional ‘Top-four’ clubs. For Manchester United, It’s been a decent start to the season. A resounding 4-1 victory on the first day of the season away to League Cup winners Swansea City and a draw against Mourinho’s Chelsea makes good reading for United. Wayne Rooney the key performer on Monday Night looks set to make another start against Liverpool after the United faithful gave Wayne their full backing at Old Trafford. An attacking duo of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney is one Liverpool shouldn’t take lightly. Rafael, Javier Hernandez and Nani remain United’s only absentees.

Corresponding Fixture Last Season

In the corresponding fixture last season, United came out 2-1 winners under controversial circumstances. Robin Van Persie scored a late winner from the spot after Valencia was adjudged to have been brought down by Glen Johnson after Rafael’s stunner had cancelled out an early second-half Steven Gerrard goal. The game was overshadowed by Jonjo Shelvey’s recklessness after the England U-21 international was sent off by Mark Halsey for a terrible tackle on Jonny Evans.

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PREDICTED LINE-UP

Key Battles

Robin Van Persie vs Daniel Agger – Last season’s top scorer Robin Van Persie will be United’s main attacking outlet on Sunday. Robin Van Persie’s goal record heading into the game reads an incredible 7 goals in 7 games. He has 5 in his last 6 games against Liverpool, 4 in his last 3. He also scored in both fixtures against Liverpool last season, including a winner at Anfield last season.The man likely to be tasked with the impossible duty of marking Van Persie out of the game is Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, who has formed a solid defensive partnership with new-signing Kolo Toure.

Wayne Rooney vs Lucas Leiva – Wayne Rooney will undoubtedly be the main focus heading into the game and it’s expected Lucas will be the man keeping his eye on the turbulent forward. Rooney was United’s best player against Chelsea on Monday night and leads the Premier League Assists category after two sumptuous assists in Wales. On Sunday, Wayne comes up against a Brazilian Midfielder in form, who has been solid all season.

Daniel Sturridge vs Nemanja Vidic/Rio Ferdinand – The man who has scored all of Liverpool’s goals this season will likely be watched by United captain Nemanja Vidic and Ferdinand on Sunday. Against Aston Villa, Sturridge scored one of the best solo goals we’ll see this season and is the man in-form heading into the fixture. 2 goals in 2 games, United’s center-backs have a massive job on their hands.

Stats

– Manchester United lead head-to-head with United edging this fixture by 74 wins to Liverpool’s 62. In the League, United have managed 63 wins against Liverpool while Liverpool have had 53. 44 games have ended in draws. Having won over twice as many of the premiership encounters since the league was renamed, United’s recent record against Liverpool is monstrous.

– The Red Devils have not lost any of their last 13 Premier League games on the road. The longest current unbeaten run in the league

– Liverpool have opened the scoring in all of the last four encounters, winning only 50%. That is, 2 victories.

– 9 of the last 11 goals in this fixture have come after the halftime interval.

– United’s last two visits to Anfield in the Premiership have yielded a draw and a victory.

“I can’t wait for the game. Ever since I’ve been at the club, coming through the under-9s to 15s, 16s, youth team and reserves; no matter what the situation is, it’s massive.”- Danny Welbeck told MUTV “Obviously we’ll want to go there and win but it’s going to be another intense game and I think the whole club is really looking forward to it.”

Visit Vincent De-Pauls’ original article on his personal blog: Football Territory 

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