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Preview: Manchester United seeking an 80th victory over Liverpool to mark their 200th match with a bang!

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Manchester United -v- Liverpool

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2017/18

Saturday 10th March 2018; KO 12:30 GMT

Live on Sky Sports Premier League HD

Manchester United face Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League at lunchtime on Saturday in what will be the 200th match between the two clubs. With Liverpool currently sitting two points behind United in the league, it is important that Jose Mourinho’s side get a victory over the Merseysiders at the Theatre of Dreams. Mourinho has already stated that the Premier League title is out of reach, with Manchester City 16 points ahead of United currently, also suggesting that he wants his team to be top of the flops, finishing second, which would be a big change from last season’s sixth-placed finish. United have already beaten Chelsea in recent weeks, opening a nine-point lead over the reigning Premier League champions.

The difference between United and Chelsea could mean that United make the top four with ease, if they continue to grind out the results, which mean United in effect need to win every match this season, with nine more matches to be played, including the Liverpool match. United are also still in the Emirates FA Cup in which they face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Theatre of Dreams next weekend with a UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg against Sevilla to be played at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, which could see United still in two competitions on top of the league matches yet to play this season. One would hope that United could go all out to win the FA Cup and make it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, or further.

With this being the 200th match between the two clubs and with everything at stake for both clubs this season, it will be a much bigger encounter than a usual match. Liverpool have spent around 59 hours in second place in the league over recent weeks and they will be seeking to return there and have bragging rights over their rivals for the first time in a long time. United will be seeking to keep their recent form against Liverpool, having not lost since the UEFA Europa League defeat in the 2015/16 season, last losing in the Premier League on the 16th March 2014 with the Merseysiders winning 3-0. The last four matches have all been draws with Liverpool winning just two of the last ten fixtures between the two sides.

United striker Romelu Lukaku scored his 99th Premier League goal in the 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Monday evening, which saw United come back from two goals down with Nemanja Matic scoring a stunning winner in added time. Lukaku, who has been criticised by the media, pundits and opposition supporters this season, is only three goals away from Harry Kane’s 102 Premier League goals – but he has scored them in 144 matches with Lukaku scoring 99 in 214 appearances having been around in the league much longer than the England striker. If Lukaku can score his 100th goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford, scoring a goal in each of his last four appearances at the Theatre of Dreams.

Jose Mourinho, speaking about this big fixture at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday in his press conference, said:

“In my mentality, every match is the same. I’m not very good on that culture – ‘this rivalry is special, that match is special’. I’ve never been very good at it. I never look to AC Milan has the biggest rival, I never look at Atletico [Madrid] as the enemy, I never look to Spurs or Arsenal as the big rival, I’ve never been any good on it.

“For me it is just a big match, two historical clubs, not just in England, but in the world. In this moment, [there are] important points for the top four, important points for second position, which is better than third or fourth place. I still don’t look to some matches as special opponents. It’s just a big match, because we are speaking about two big clubs.”

Form: Liverpool undefeated in their last six matches in all competitions; Manchester United defeated once in their last six matches

Manchester United: WWDWLW – Crystal Palace 3-2 W, Chelsea 2-1 W, Sevilla 0-0 D, Huddersfield Town 2-0 W, Newcastle United 1-0 L, Huddersfield Town 2-0 W

Liverpool: DWWWWD – FC Porto 0-0 D, Newcastle United 2-0 W, West Ham United 4-1 W, FC Porto 5-0 W, Southampton 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 D

Previous Matches: This will be the 200th match between the two clubs. United have won 79 already. Could this be the 80th victory over Liverpool?

Manchester United and Liverpool have played 199 competitive matches in all competitions in the history of both clubs. The fierce and passionate rivalry between the two clubs has lasted 124 years. Saturday’s match will be the 200th encounter, the 52nd of the Premier League era. United have won 79 times with Liverpool winning 65 times – there has also been 55 draws with four in the last four matches alone. In the last ten matches, which stretches back to 2014, United have only lost twice, winning four times and drawing four times. In the Premier League era, United have gone ten matches without a defeat against Liverpool, stretching from the 1-0 victory in the FA Cup final on the 11th May 1996, to the 1-1 draw in the Premier League on the 4th March 2000.

Team News: Marouane Fellaini fit, Eric Bailly in contention to face Liverpool – no other injured player has recovered for this match

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Marouane Fellaini could be back in action against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday. The Belgian has been on the sidelines since coming on and going off minutes later in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the end of January. Fellaini has recently had knee surgery which seems to have worked, boosting United’s midfield with Ander Herrera still on the sidelines. Speaking in his press conference on Friday after also being asked about Eric Bailly, Mourinho said:

“Yeah, he [Bailly] was fully fit for a couple of weeks. Yeah, but he’s okay. The only one that is back to the team is Fellaini. It’s basically the same . The people injured are recovering step by step and a few of them are very, very close to a return – but not yet.

“We are fine, we have a squad ready for everything. The number we choose – 23 – was to protect them and we are coping with that.”

Mourinho also confirmed that none of the other injured players have recovered for this match, meaning that Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will remain on the sidelines. Anthony Martial missed the Crystal Palace victory with a small injury,

Predicted Starting XI: How a new formation could help Jose Mourinho beat Liverpool keeping attacking a massive option for Manchester United

Predicted Score: Manchester United need to send Liverpool packing to keep second place in the Premier League their own

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

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