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Preview: Manchester United v Liverpool – Barclays Premier League

Liverpool Post Match

Old Trafford, Manchester

Barclays Premier League

Sunday 14th December 2014, KO 13:30 GMT – Live on Sky Sports 1HD

Referee: Martin Atkinson; Assistants: M Mullarkey and S Child; Fourth Official: J Moss

Manchester United face their bitterest rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday. Last season this fixture was a 3-0 defeat for David Moyes’ Manchester United side, who just did not have what it took to get the better of the in-form side. Three penalties were awarded by Mark Clattenburg in Liverpool’s favour. Steven Gerrard scored the first two, missing the third in which captain Nemanja Vidic was sent off, with the resulting penalty being missed by Liverpool’s captain. Luis Suarez scored his last goal against Manchester United as a Liverpool player with six minutes remaining and United had no way of getting back into the game. This was starting to become the end for David Moyes and just over a month later, he was sacked.

This season, United are in a better position than Liverpool, who seemed to give everything they had last season, before they slipped up. They are now out of the UEFA Champions League, winning one match in their group, losing three and drawing twice. Thursday night football beckons, something that Liverpool’s supporters were joking about should United have earned a place in the UEFA Europa League last season, which they didn’t, so karma cometh for the Scousers, maybe they will get to see the nice parts of Russia, something which will hamper their season even more, so it can’t be all bad. I mean, imagine thinking you were going to win the leave last season, then seeing that Gerrard slip, gifting the ball to Demba Ba, the seeing Chelsea do them over. Case closed. The ‘Liverpool – Barclays Premier League Champions’ T-Shirts made it all the more funnier. A collector’s item surely, so close yet so far. Steven Gerrard – one of the best players in Premier League history according to his manager, yet never won a domestic title. Pathetic.

United are the in-form team over the last five matches, winning all five, despite playing not that well both against Arsenal and Southampton, yet still taking home all three points. Many are unhappy about how the team played, but winning is not about how you play, it is about how you win and United have battled, showing true spirit in their victories. 15 points out of 15, even champions Manchester City have only managed 13 points in their last five matches, so despite being that side who faltered this season, it shows that something is happening at Old Trafford and it won’t be long before that beast has awaken once again. Louis van Gaal faced the media on Friday afternoon, confirming that a host of players have returned to training, many nearing full fitness and ability to join the squad; Rafael Da Silva must be the one most welcome as with Antonio Valencia playing in the right-back position is starting to show. We need a true right-back playing in matches like this, so hopefully the Brazilian will be back on Sunday.

Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind have all been ruled out of the squad for Sunday, despite the media reporting that the Argentinian would return. You do have to take the manager at face value, but previously managers have bluffed, so it does make you wonder if this is the case here, but it is probably not and he will be out of the match, unfortunately. Brendan Rodgers will be without the likes of Kolo Touré, Daniel Sturridge, Jon Flanagan, Suso and Mario Balotelli, who will undergo a late fitness test as with Rickie Lambert leading the line, you know that United’s defence will probably remain unthreatened. Words that could comeback to bite me, but will they?

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Manchester United Statistics:

Based on Barclays Premier League 2014/15 [statistics taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 15 matches, won 8, drawn 4, lost 3 and currently have 28 points

Scored 26 goals (1.73 goals per match) and conceded 17 goals (1.13 goals per match) – 0 penalties

Longest unbeaten streak is 5 matches

Clean sheet record 27%

Liverpool Statistics:

Based on Barclays Premier League 2014/15 [statistics taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 15 matches, won 6, drawn 3, lost 6 and currently have 21 points

Scored 19 goals (1.27 goals per match) and conceded 19 goals (1.27 goals per match) – 1 penalty

Longest unbeaten streak is 4 matches

Clean sheet record 27%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 6 – Robin van Persie, 5 – Wayne Rooney, 4 – Juan Mata, 3 – Angel Di Maria, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera 1 – Daley Blind, Radamel Falcao, Own Goal, Chris Smalling

Liverpool: 5 – Steven Gerrard, 3 – Own Goal, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, 2 – Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, 1 – Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho, Glen Johnson, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Rossiter, Daniel Sturridge, Suso

Manchester United Form: – WWWWWL

Last six matches: Southampton 2-1 W, Stoke City 2-1 W, Hull City 3-0 W, Arsenal 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Manchester City 1-0 L

Liverpool: – DDWWDL

Last six matches: Basel 1-1 D, Sunderland 0-0 D, Leicester City 3-1 W, Stoke City 1-0 W, Ludogorets 2-2 D, Crystal Palace 3-1 L,

Head to Head:

Played 22 matches at Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League:

Manchester United: Won 13, Drawn 4, Lost 5 – Scored 34 goals, conceded 22 goals and kept 8 clean sheets

Liverpool: Won 5, Drawn 4, Lost 13 – Scored 22 goals, conceded 34 goals and kept 4 clean sheets

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 13, Anders Lindegaard, 40. Ben Amos, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 2. Rafael da Silva, 3. Luke Shaw, 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 6. Jonny Evans, 12. Chris Smalling, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Marnick Vermijl, 39. Tom Thorpe, 42. Tyler Blackett;

Midfielders: 7. Ángel Di María, 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 24. Darren Fletcher, 25. Antonio Valencia, 28. Anderson, 31. Marouane Fellaini, 35. Jesse Lingard, 46. Joe Rothwell;

Strikers: 9. Radamel Falcao, 10. Wayne Rooney, 20. Robin van Persie, 48. Will Keane, 49. James Wilson

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (ankle/foot), 7. Ángel Di María (hamstring), 12. Chris Smalling (hamstring), 17. Daley Blind (knee), 39. Tom Thorpe (knock) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Liverpool Squad:

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Goalkeepers: 1. Brad Jones, 22. Simon Mignolet;

Defenders: 2. Glen Johnson, 3. José Enrique, 4. Kolo Touré, 6. Dejan Lovren, 17. Mamadou Sakho, 18. Alberto Moreno, 19. Javier Manquillo, 37. Martin Škrtel, 38. Jon Flanagan;

Midfielders: 8. Steven Gerrard, 14. Jordan Henderson, 20. Adam Lallana, 21. Lucas Leiva, 23. Emre Can, 24. Joe Allen, 30. Suso, 31. Raheem Sterling, 46. Jordan Rossiter, 49. Jordan Williams, 50. Lazar Marković;

Strikers: 9. Rickie Lambert, 10. Philippe Coutinho, 15. Daniel Sturridge, 29. Fabio Borini, 45. Mario Balotelli

Doubts/Injuries: 4. Kolo Touré (groin/pelvis), 15. Daniel Sturridge (hip/thigh), 30. Suso (groin/pelvis), 38. Jon Flanagan (knee), 45. Mario Balotelli (groin/pelvis) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool

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