Friday, 11 September 2015

Match preview: United v Liverpool

The Premier League returns with a bang as United welcome fierce rivals Liverpool in this titanic Saturday tea time tussle searching for a hat-trick of wins over our North West neighbours.

The last time we met was truly unforgettable: Juan Mata's spectacular double inspired us to a famous win at Anfield to complete a league double following the 3-0 victory at OT in December. 

Liverpool, like us, have spent big this summer with seven new arrivals including familiar faces James Milner, Christian Benteke and reported United target Nathaniel Clyne amongst their signings in a new-look squad. 

Two 1-0 wins (over Spurs and Villa for us and Stoke and Bournemouth for them), a goalless draw and disappointing defeat apiece means that both sides go into this showdown with identical early season records (seven points from four league games). 

The form book goes out of the window in these matches, though but with a return to winning ways a must, LVG is boosted by having a virtually fully fit squad to choose from.

Michael Carrick is fit to play despite his withdrawal from the England squad, Marcos Rojo could be named in the squad whilst Phil Jones is "progressing well" but is not yet quite ready for a return.

Speaking to the media on Friday, LVG said:

"You never know (if De Gea will play), his head is empty now and that is important.
"He can focus but I have to judge him in training before deciding my selection.
"Only Pereira came back with an injury, Carrick can play and Jones is still injured but he's going well."


It seems unlikely that new boy Anthony Martial will be thrust straight into Van Gaal's starting XI on Saturday, and the manager seemed to confirm this in his press conference, adding:

"The crazy world that is football is that there is a market and a price, we cannot have any influence on that price.
"I have said to Ed Woodward that we needed a striker, he is the best of his age and is a player for the future.
"We can wait a year but for now we can build him up, help him adapt and then he can enter the game at the right moment."


Form guide: W W W D W L Liverpool W W D L 
Match odds: United 19/12 Draw 12/5 Liverpool 7/2
Referee: The man with two first names, Michael Oliver (remember him) take charge of English football's biggest game





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