Liverpool have been swamped with big fixtures and this very fact seems to have taken a toll on the team, so Jurgen Klopp will find it a challenge assembling his starting XI. The Red Devils arrive with an extra day off having played Newcastle on Tuesday, while the Reds took on league leaders Arsenal on Wednesday. Liverpool, after their clash with Arsenal, will be thankful for that extra point with Joe Allen’s 90′ minute strike. The game ended 3-3, just like that of Newcastle and Manchester, but the Red Devils were the ones to see a win slip through their hands conceding in injury time.
Manchester United will be looking to getting their campaign back on track after they recorded back-to-back wins against Swansea and Sheffield United, but a 3-3 draw against Newcastle has once again highlighted that they are, at present, a shadow of a team they were under Alex Ferguson. Louis van Gaal is very well aware that a defeat at Anfield Road could mark an end of his tenure, and is under serious pressure as he prepares for the match. One good thing is the fact that Wayne Rooney is slowly getting back to form.
Defence might be an issue for Liverpool as Dejan Lovren struggles for fitness. Given the Reds injury crisis, his return is eagerly anticipated. Liverpool will also be without Martin Skrtel, Divock Origi and key playmaker Philippe Coutinho. Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to make a return, while Danny Ings and Joe Gomez remain long-term absentees. Steven Caulker has been drafted in on loan and could make a feature.
Manchester United will have to go in without Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nick Powell, while Phil Jones has a good chance of recovering from a foot problem. Juan Mata was dropped to the bench against Newcastle after playing in a lot of matches in quick succession and is likely to return to the starting XI.
• Manchester United have won six of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Liverpool (L2) and two of the last four at Anfield (W2 D1 L1).
• Man Utd scored with all three of their shots on target in the reverse fixture played this season.
• Juan Mata has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last six league appearances against Liverpool.
• Only Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur (19) has seen more penalties awarded in BPL history than this fixture (18).
• Liverpool have lost 11 times at home to Man Utd, more defeats than against any other visitor in the competition.
• Wayne Rooney will be looking to score in four successive matches for Manchester United for the first time since March 2012.
• Rooney (175 goals for Man Utd) is now level with Thierry Henry (175 for Arsenal) for the most goals for a single club in BPL history.
• Christian Benteke has scored in his last three league outings against Manchester United, but has lost two and drawn one of these three matches.
League Head to Head
12/09/2015 Premier League 2015/2016 Manchester United 3 – 1 Liverpool
22/03/2015 Premier League 2014/2015 Liverpool 1 – 2 Manchester United
14/12/2014 Premier League 2014/2015 Manchester United 3 – 0 Liverpool
16/03/2014 Premier League 2013/2014 Manchester United 0 – 3 Liverpool
25/09/2013 League Cup 2013/2014 Manchester United 1 – 0 Liverpool
01/09/2013 Premier League 2013/2014 Liverpool 1 – 0 Manchester United
Manchester United – Juan Mata
One integral question prior to this match will be this: LVG’s midfield selections — does he go defensive, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, or does he set up around the attack-minded Ander Herrera and Juan Mata? Mata is to return from injury against Liverpool and LVG is more likely to set up an attacking-based midfield. In such a scenario, Mata would prove to be one of the key players as most of the play will depend on him.
Liverpool – Roberto Firmino
New recruit Roberto Firmino has had a slow start to life in the Premier League, but he has so far proven himself to be a big-game player. The Brazilian might only have three goals and four assists to his name, but it’s important to look at the teams those have come against — goals against Manchester City and Arsenal, and assists against Chelsea, City and Leicester. When Liverpool face the top sides, Firmino turns up, and it appears that only a lack of consistency is stopping Klopp from building Liverpool’s attack around his brilliant Brazilian, rather than striker Christian Benteke.
The match is most likely to end in a 2-1 victory for Manchester United. With United currently sitting in sixth-place and Liverpool ninth, both will be desperate for a win in this match to kick start an assault on a top four finish.