Liverpool travel to Old Trafford this Sunday for a lunch-time kick off against ข่าวลิเวอร์พูล traditional rivals Manchester United.
Liverpool’s Record at Old Trafford:
This hasn’t been the friendliest venue for Liverpool, in terms of match results. In 18 visits, the Merseysiders have won just four, while the Reds have won 10, with the remaining four games ending without result.
The Red Devils trump the Anfield squad in the number of goals scored, too. Against 27 goals scored by Sir Alex’s squad, Liverpool have only managed to find the back of United’s net on 15 occasions.
Manchester United’s Record at Old Trafford:
United have had a brilliant home record, against all comers; in 77 matches played at Old Trafford, they have won 37, and only lost 15, while scoring 127 goals against just 70 conceded.
Liverpool’s Current Premier League Season:
Liverpool haven’t conceded a goal in their last two Premier League games, against West Brom and Birmingham. But they have only the solitary win in four matches this season.
United’s Premiership Record:
United have not lost a match in their last nine Premiership games; they have won six and drawn the rest.
But if the Old Trafford side are feeling the strain of being four points behind Chelsea on the Premier League points table, the frustration was only compounded in their goalless draw against Rangers in the Champions League, on Tuesday. The Red Devils could yet rue the leads they threw away in the Fulham and Everton games; Evra and Evans in defence were to blame for lapses in concentration.
With Rio Ferdinand’s return, Sir Alex will breathe a sigh of relief. Ferdinand has already gone through the paces staying the entire duration of the Rangers game, but the true test of his match fitness will be in the way he stands up to Torres, against Liverpool, on Sunday. I expect Evans to start, with Ferdinand coming in as a second half substitute, late in the game.
United’s Team Selection Factors:
Sir Alex chose to rest many of his players in the Champions League game against Rangers, giving players like Smalling, Da Silva and Gibson a start. As a result, players like Scholes, Evra, O’Shea, Berbatov and Vidic who missed that match should find themselves well rested.
So the squad for Sunday’s match should be more or less the same as that in the Everton game, last weekend. Wayne Rooney who missed the match at Goodison Park should be back in Premier League action.
A piece of good news for United is that Rio Ferdinand is set to play his first game of the Premiership season. Owen and Hargreaves are not fully recovered from their injuries, and Anderson is also a doubtful starter owing to a knee injury.
United will miss Carrick’s ability in pacing and finishing a game. In another jolt to United, they have also lost Valencia to a broken ankle that he sustained in the Rangers game. The Ecuadorian has had the knee operated on, but is likely to be out of football action at least until February.
This would mean greater pressure on Nani, during this season. The Portuguese player should relish the challenge, as he has begun to gel with the squad.
Liverpool’s Team Selection Factors:
The Merseysiders will be without Kuyt, Aurelio and Fabio. Gerrard and Torres, who were absent from the Liverpool side that beat Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League game on Thursday, are certain to start.
Joe Cole has served out his three match suspension after his first ever red card in Liverpool’s opening match of the Premiership against Arsenal, and will also return to action against Fergie’s men.
Red Devils Vs Merseysiders, Last Season:
Last season, the sides shared a game each, both home games going to the hosts. In the Old Trafford match, United prevailed 2-1, on the back of Park Ji-Sung’s winning strike. In the Anfield match, Liverpool were more decisive, winning 2-0.
Game Plan for Manchester United:
Vidic and Evans will play a crucial role in the back-line. Berbatov is sure to start, according to Sir Alex, and should partner Rooney at the spearhead.
Alternatively, United could choose to go with Berbatov the lone striker, allowing Rooney to play a deeper role, in which he proved so effective in the recent Euro qualifiers. In such case, Park could be shunted to midfield, with Giggs manning the left flank.