Saturday 14 January 2017

Match preview: United v Liverpool

With nine wins in a row and a 15-game unbeaten run across all competitions, United's form couldn't be better for the colossal clash with our fiercest rivals.

Sunday's top of the table six pointer represents a perfect opportunity for the Reds to strike a psychological blow in the race for the top four and gain further ground on the teams above us.

Jurgen Klopp's side arrive at Old Trafford three places and five points better off but have wobbled of late after three games without a win - draws with Sunderland and League Two Plymouth and a 1-0 EFL Cup defeat at Southampton in midweek. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to return from the illness that kept him out of the Hull fixture, but Eric Bailly remains unavailable on AFCON duty.
Luke Shaw is back in training but this game may come too soon and Marcos Rojo is doubtful.

Liverpool's top scorer Sadio Mane is away on African Cup duty with Senegal, but Phillipe Coutinho is in contention to feature having returned from a six-week lay off at St Mary's. 

Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson missed that semi final first leg with the Saints and only the latter - Liverpool's captain - could be involved against United.

Jose issued a rallying cry to club's "fantastic" supporters in a bid to create a fervent Old Trafford atmosphere.

"The fans of this club are fantastic and what I want from them I have had, since day one.
"We play at home, so it is different from the last time and a huge percentage of our fans compared to Liverpool's.
"What I ask is four our fans to create that little bit extra to make the game more special and help the team to win it.
"It is a big rivalry and it's always nice to win against your biggest rivals but it's three points and no more than that." 

History beckons for United skipper Wayne Rooney, who is likely to be on the bench, as he searches for one more goal to stand alone as United's record goalscorer (and what a fixture to do it in)! 

The Reds of Manchester and Merseyside locked horns four times last season with United winning both league fixtures - 3-1 at Old Trafford and 1-0 at Anfield.
Klopp's side earned a modicum of revenge with a 3-1 aggregate victory (0-2 and 1-1) in the first ever meeting in European competition.

The 197th match between the sides ended in a dour goalless stalemate in the reverse fixture in October. 

Form guide: United W W W W W W Liverpool W W W D D L
Match odds: United 6/5 Draw 12/4 Liverpool 11/4
Referee: Michael Oliver. 

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